LANSING, Mich. -

Attorney General Bill Schuette on Wednesday announced charges against a Westland man for his role in an extensive foreclosure-rescue fraud operation that scammed at least 360 victims out of $800,000.

Rickey White, 46, and his company, Braunstein & Associates, face criminal charges for collecting upfront fees and impersonating a mortgage modification company.

"Foreclosure rescue scam artists attack Michigan homeowners who are struggling financially and fighting to stay in their homes," said Schuette. "Instead of helping families stay above water, these criminals push them back under."

The criminal charges come as the result of an investigation by Schuette's office after complaints against the company were filed.

The investigation revealed that from December 2009 through May 2011, White allegedly operated two companies, titled Braunstein & Associates and Expert Financial, that were marketed as mortgage modification businesses.

Rickey White 592012

Schuette says that while White operated Expert Financial, he allegedly victimized more than 300 clients, who lost a total of $700,000. Under Braunstein & Associates, Schuette alleges White victimized at least 60 homeowners, who were scammed out of more than $100,000.

"We are working hard to dismantle these predatory operations and connect victims with free foreclosure assistance," said Schuette.

Citizens who believe they may have been victims of Braunstein & Associates or Expert Financial are encouraged to file complaints with the Attorney General's Office at www.michigan.gov/ag and by clicking "File a Complaint."

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