A Lompoc real estate call center caught up in a federal and local law enforcement investigation has apparently closed its doors for good with as many as 20 people losing their jobs.
The call center sold online information on pre-foreclosed or foreclosed properties as a way for renters to pursue ownership by taking over monthly payments on a foreclosed property.
The call center was the target of a raid by federal agents and local investigators last week.
The mirrored glass doors of the call center on North V Street were locked and no notices were posted about the business closing for good.
“The manager this morning told me it was locked up and they were moving out back to the Santa Barbara area”, said Robin Lovan who owns a business next door to the call center.
Lovan said the call center operated 7 days a week and employed as many as 20 people.
“It is too good to be true”, Lovan said about the call center’s business model, “there’s no way anybody, a bank, anyone, would let you take over payments on a house from somebody that’s already been foreclosed on.”
“Everyone was very friendly”, said Sarah McCallon who quit working at the call center after only one week on the job.
“It was just commission based, it was 50 dollars per sale, I made 150 dollars after one week and didn’t go back,” McCallon said.
McCallon said she’s not surprised the call center is part of a larger law enforcement investigation. The online real estate listing company has generated repeated consumer complaints to the Better Business Bureau.
“Its kind of a sketchy sort of business”, McCallon said, “its perfectly legal but I don’t think its morally correct.”
It remains to be seen if any of the people who worked at the Lompoc call center will have jobs elsewhere in the company.
“He (manager) mentioned that maybe there would be a van available for them to transport people down to Santa Barbara to the new office”, Robin Lovan said, “but then he laughed and threw up his hands, so I figure that’s not going to happen.”
No charges or arrests have been made in the ongoing investigation of the company that owns the call center.