A Van Nuys man was ordered detained Friday pending trial on federal charges alleging he ran a foreclosure-avoidance scheme that raked in $7 million from distressed homeowners.
Michael “Mickey” Henschel, 68, was arrested Wednesday by federal agents pursuant to an 11-count indictment returned by a Los Angeles federal grand jury on June 8, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to the indictment unsealed after his arrest, Henschel owned a Van Nuys-based company he operated under several names, including Valueline.
Prosecutors allege that Henschel and several co-conspirators marketed illegal foreclosure- and eviction-delay services to homeowners who had defaulted on their mortgages and renters who were facing eviction.
As part of the scheme, Henschel and the others allegedly persuaded homeowners to sign fake grant deeds that purported to show the homeowners had conveyed an interest in their properties to fictional third parties.
Henschel and his co-conspirators allegedly filed bankruptcies in the names of fictional persons and entities to trigger the automatic stay provision of the Bankruptcy Code, which meant that foreclosure sales were stalled.
Henschel allegedly delayed evictions in a similar way, filing fraudulent documents in state eviction actions and sending similar documents to sheriff’s offices.
In addition to monthly fees paid for the illegal services, Henschel allegedly charged some homeowners large fees before agreeing to clear title to their properties.
During the course of the scheme, from October 2010 through July 2013, Henschel and his co-conspirators collected more than $7 million, according to the indictment.
The indictment charges Henschel with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of bankruptcy fraud and two counts of wire fraud. Trial was scheduled for Aug. 8.
–City News Service