This is a story of mortgage fraud and other federal charges related to loans to homeowners in trouble. But, if after all of the fraud news in the last couple of years, there is still this kind of thing going on, we all need to be aware. It's a wakeup call, whether you're in mortgage trouble or not, to be careful who you're dealing with for mortgages. True, those about to go into foreclosure are more desperate and short on time, but every potential borrower can learn from the misfortune of others. A United States Attorney in Florida has filed charges against Peter James Porcelli II for mail fraud, and penalties could include imprisonment for up to 20 years, as well as restitution in the amount of $1.16 million. The charges state that Mr. Porcelli was involved in multiple companies, including a mortgage business, to defraud homeowners in danger of foreclosure.Statements of alleged activities: Advertising through one company attracted homeowners in mortgage trouble with statements that allegedly promised fast help in stopping foreclosure and ending the credit problems associated with their delinquent mortgages. The borrowers were placed into high fee loans with large short term balloon payments. It seems that these activities were also previously prohibited, as, according to the indictment, on April 14, 2003, the Hon. John W. Darrah, United States District Judge from the Northern District Illinois, enjoined Porcelli from offering for sale, directly or indirectly, credit-related products, including loans.It pays to be careful, and to deal with established companies and mortgage lenders who have been in business in your area for a while. That's not to say that a new lender or mortgage broker is a problem, but you'll want to check them out to protect yourself. We're here for the long term, and hope that you'll give us a call with your questions about new loans or financing in the Las Vegas mortgage markets.*An indictment is not a finding of guilt, and indicted parties are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.