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05/07/10

Scammer Preys on Latino Immigrants

According to the Chicago Tribune Eliseo Carrillo, who marketed himself as a "Champion of Latino immigrants", is accused of scamming immigrant homeowners of up to $86,000. Posting his smiling face on billboards throughout Chicago's Mexican-American neighborhoods, Carrillo promised that he and his real estate companies were "friends and guardians of immigrants in need." Instead homeowners were scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars and some are still facing the risk of foreclosure. At least four of Carrillo's former clients have filed lawsuits claiming they were victims of a complex mortgage fraud rescue scam.

Capitalizing on the foreclosure crisis, Carrillo used cultural based ploys to lure Latino homeowners. Promoting his real estate companies, called "Protecta. "There was a lot of preying on the immigrant community, with the feeling of patriotism, camaraderie and family and all of these things," Rey Lopez-Calderon, a South Side community organizer familiar with Protecta was quoted as saying in the article. "If you've looked at his commercials, he really overdoes it. He's got this big cowboy hat on. He's got the thick Mexican accent. He's really: `I am super Mexican guy, and I'm out there helping the community." However, like many scammers, Carrillo made false promises and failed to deliver his promises to many homeowners.

Since 2006, Carrillo and his companies have been targeted by at least a dozen law-suits.  The homeowners currently suing Carrillo and his companies claim losses of up to $86,000. Carrillo has shut-down Protecta, and is under investigation by the Illinois Attorney General's office. He continues to fight against allegations, claiming they are a result of government retaliation.

For more information, Please click here to read Antonio Olivo's Chicago Tribune article "Immigrants sue and say they were misled into surrendering deeds to their homes"