One scammer tricked Californians that were facing foreclosure into believing he could help them.

When Californians have their backs against the wall and are facing foreclosure, they may be inclined to find any means possible of keeping their property. And in their state of vulnerability, they may be subject to exploitation schemes that provide false hope and only make matters worse.

In early January, Frederic Gladle, 53, pleaded guilty to charges of bankruptcy fraud and aggravated identity theft after he allegedly collected $1.6 million from 1,100 southern California homeowners that were facing foreclosure. He admitted to the court that he falsely offered to delay foreclosures for up to six months at a rate of $750 per month. To keep his scheme running for so long, he used five different fake aliases, and even stole at least one person's identity.

"Foreclosure-rescue schemes have reached epidemic levels in southern California, where both homeowners and lenders have been victims of a wide variety of frauds," U.S. attorney André Birotte Jr. said in a statement. "Persons facing foreclosure need to exercise extreme caution when seeking assistance with their financial problems and the public needs to know that the Department of Justice will actively pursue those who seek to manipulate and victimize either homeowners or lenders."

California residents that are facing a significant amount of debt or have been notified by their lenders that their property may be seized if they do not catch up with mortgage payments should be very careful in choosing who they receive help from. However, they may be able to find an a solution by discussing their options with a trusted bankruptcy attorney. To avoid ending up in a similar scam, Californians should find an attorney through a Bar certified lawyer referral service.

Attorney Search Network is a California state bar certified legal referral service that helps clients find an attorney for nearly any type of case, whether they require a family lawyer, bankruptcy attorney, estate planning attorney or criminal lawyer.