PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is accusing a Texas company of defrauding at least 70 western Pennsylvanians.
“We’re not going to stand for it. I am really ticked off by this kind of behavior,” Shapiro told KDKA money editor Jon Delano late Friday afternoon.
In a lawsuit filed Friday in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, Shapiro said Harbour Portfolio scammed low-income residents into buying uninhabitable homes with home interest rates three times normal mortgage rates.
“These scammers exploited the fact that many of the buyers are low-income consumers who really didn’t understand the complicated process of buying a home, so what they got was a subpar home and a misleading deed. This conduct is reprehensible, and it’s especially reprehensible when it’s targeting low income Pennsylvanians,” said Shapiro.
The lawsuit alleges Harbour Portfolio bought more than 100 run-down homes from Fannie Mae in this state in disadvantaged neighborhoods, generally for $4,000 to $15,000.
The homes were largely uninhabitable.
Harbour then sold those homes to individuals at $16,000 to $62,000 with no substantial improvements made to the home.
Although much of the contract language sounded like a traditional mortgage, it was not, and contained an interest rate of 9.9 percent, two to three times traditional mortgage rates.
Shapiro says he wants Harbour Portfolio to repay the victims.
The Attorney General says he’s worried other local residents may have been scammed by Harbour Portfolio.
If you’ve feel you’ve been victimized by this Texas company, Shapiro wants to hear from you by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, visit: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/protect-yourself/