Eight Latino residents of Greeley, Colorado filed a civil rights lawsuit last year against JS Real Estate and five of its employees. The complaints were filed against this company and its owners because of illegal practices that included tricking Latino homebuyers into mortgages they could not afford.
The five defendants include the two co-owners of the firm Mark Strodtman and Dean Juhl, mortgage brokers Jessica Feliciano-Brandt and Charles Brandt, and the assistant Flora Carmona.
According to the complaint, the defendants marketing strategy would target Spanish media markets to attract the Latino community, while their bilingual staff would lure these individuals into homes they could could not financially afford to buy.
On behalf of the families who were tricked by these crooks, the Colorado Civil Rights Coalition filed two different lawsuits against the defendants.
In the first lawsuit files by Angelica Quintana and Martin Zozaya, the judge issued a $10,000 penalty to all of the individuals involved except for Mark Strodtman and Flora Carmona.
The hearing for the second case will be in May. This claim was filed by six other people who were also targeted by these discriminating practices.
Last fall, Mark Strodtman was convicted of 11 counts of felony theft, 11 counts of felony forgery and also racketeering for a mortgage fraud scheme from 2006 to 2007. Strodtman is now facing a sentence of thirty-one years in prison and will not be seeing day-light anytime soon. The civil rights case is still a pending matter. In exchange for a testimony, charges against Feliciano, Brandt, and Carmona have been dropped.
Back in November 2008, the Colorado Division of Civil Rights Director Steven Chavez found out that the individuals involved violated Colorado’s Fair Housing Laws because they would specifically target potential Latino homebuyers. The discriminating practices would target these buyers and put them into homes they could not afford with adjustable rates or large balloon payments due at the end of the loan, which eventually led these individuals to foreclosure.