St. Louis area contractor accused of scamming homeowners

In 2017, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for fraud in Jefferson County. Fewer than two years later, he was released and accused of scamming again

ST. LOUIS — A recommendation from a neighbor or friend can often seal the deal. Especially if you’re looking for a contractor.

It didn’t work out well for one Hazelwood man. He told the 5 On Your Side I-Team he had no idea his roofing contractor had just been released from prison for stealing thousands from his customers.

This spring when Justin McDonald found out his roof was leaking, he knew he needed to act fast.

“I was getting some water leak from a rainstorm,” said McDonald.

The lockdown had just started. Finding a contractor was tricky. So, McDonald felt lucky when his neighbor had a recommendation for him: Donald “DJ” Harralston with ‘Multiple Trade Solutions LLC’.

“[Harralston claimed he] worked with,

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What Is a Foreclosure? 4 Things Homeowners Need to Know

What is a foreclosure? When a homeowner doesn’t pay his or her mortgage for an extended period, the bank or entity that lent that money takes possession of the home—which means the current owner must move out.

Foreclosure is a scary word for homeowners, but it’s not all that common today: According to CoreLogic, the foreclosure rate (meaning the percentage of loans in foreclosure) currently hovers just under 1%. During economic downturns, like the housing crisis of 2011, foreclosure rates rose as high as 3.6%.

If you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments, you’ll want to know what foreclosure means and how it works. Here’s what you need to know.

1. What is pre-foreclosure?

If you’re a few days late on a mortgage payment, don’t panic—the bank isn’t going to confiscate your house. In fact, most mortgage contracts have a 15-day grace period, with a late fee of 5% on

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homeowners frustrated by lack of installers

Householders trying to apply for the government’s £5,000 Green Homes Grants to make energy improvements have described how it is nearly impossible to find an accredited installer to do the work.

Homeowners in Cornwall have been pointed towards installers as far away as Scotland, Manchester and south Wales – who understandably, are not interested in quoting for their work.

The Green Homes Grant scheme, which was first announced in July, went live last week.

Related: Green Homes Grant: homeowners can apply for up to £5,000 in England

To gain the grants, which cover two-thirds of the cost of insulation or installing low-carbon heating, householders have to get quotes from contractors who are TrustMark registered and listed on the official Simple Energy Advice (SEA) website.

Large areas of the country appear to have no contractors willing or able to do the work – leading the founder of the Moneysavingexpert website, Martin

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Baton Rouge homeowners vulnerable to foreclosure, report says

Nearly 110,000 Louisiana homeowners were unable to pay on their mortgages in September—including some 15,000 in East Baton Rouge Parish—suggesting that the state could be on the brink of a foreclosure crisis when forbearance periods come to an end next year.

According to an analysis released today by national consulting firm Urban Footprint and the Baton Rouge-based Center for Planning Excellence, the mortgage gap in Louisiana—the difference between what is owed on monthly home loans and what mortgage holders are able to pay—is currently an estimated $140 million per month.

In Baton Rouge, as well as in Lafayette and on the Northshore, the gap is nearly $20 million.

In the Greater New Orleans area, which has the largest mortgage gap in the state, the amount is $34 million.

“The findings of this report put more numbers to a housing crisis that we knew was coming,” CPEX Executive Director Camille Manning

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Decade-Old Predatory Loans Plague Some Black Homeowners In Prince George’s County : NPR

Zalee Harris, 63, lost her Temple Hills home after fighting her predatory loan foreclosures for almost a decade.

Tyrone Turner/WAMU

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Tyrone Turner/WAMU

Some homeowners in Prince George’s County are grappling with the current recession while still mired in debt from predatory home loans from the last recession.

The 2008-2009 subprime mortgage crisis left thousands of homeowners in Maryland — which was third in the country for foreclosures — strapped with loans that were initially low before ballooning dramatically. Black homeowners — particularly in Prince George’s County which was hardest hit in the state for foreclosures — were often targeted for these loans. Many didn’t find out about the high cost of the loans until receiving a notice for intent to foreclose, years after the housing crisis had supposedly ended.

And when they try to seek help to avoid foreclosure, they’re mostly told to get a hard-to-obtain

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About 1M Homeowners Could Face Foreclosure

Approximately one million homeowners are at risk of losing their homes through foreclosure despite the safety net established by Congress at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to industry data.

The Wall Street Journal reported that while homeowners with federally guaranteed mortgages were granted a reprieve from making home loan payments for up to a year without penalty in March, they were required to contact their lenders to request the relief. Instead of being proactive, many borrowers have instead fallen behind on payments, amassing late fees and missed payments.

“Some borrowers are falling through the cracks that we’re not picking up,” Lisa Rice, CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that aims to end housing discrimination, told the WSJ. “It’s just a really sad series of events.” 

One million borrowers are 30 days past due or more on

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Florida Braces for a Storm of Homeowners Insurance Rate Hikes


(Bloomberg Businessweek) — Every year since 2010, Florida has gained about 300,000 residents. The consistent stream has become the state’s lifeblood, keeping taxes low while injecting billions into new-home construction and associated businesses. When Covid-19 hit, there was concern the migration would stop.


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The reverse happened. “We’ve never written more [sales] contracts in our 94-year history than we did in June this year,” says Mike Pappas, president of the Keyes Co., a privately held real estate, mortgage, and insurance company based in Miami. “You’re definitely getting, from the Northeast, a surge of people looking for housing.”

Many of these newcomers may not know what they’re getting into. They’ve calculated the cost of their house, their mortgage, their car payments, their property taxes, and their home insurance. What they almost certainly haven’t taken into account is the reinsurance market—where insurance companies go to share risk. The peculiar dynamics

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