Business and Economics

Attorneys General, Feds Fight Foreclosure Relief Scammers

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July 24, 2014 — Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller  filed lawsuits Wednesday against seven companies for operating fraudulent mortgage rescue or loan modification schemes that scammed consumers out of more than $14,000 in large upfront fees but did nothing to help them stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure.

The lawsuits are part of a joint federal-state sweep by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, The Federal Trade Commission and 14 other states targeting scam operations that prey on delinquent homeowners or those facing foreclosures.

“These mortgage rescue scams target struggling homeowners and give them false hope that they can save their home with just an upfront fee,” Zoeller said.  “After that fee is collected, the scammers fail to perform any promised services, putting their victims at even greater risk for foreclosure.  My hope is that these lawsuits will set the precedent and send a warning to others that this behavior is not acceptable and violators will be punished.”

As part of the sweep, Indiana filed suit against Consumer First Legal Group, Select Debt Solutions, JAS Legal Network, Home Relief Assistance, Legal Affiliates Group, Global Retention US, and Homegroup, LLC.

The complaint requests restitution to be determined at trail, but includes consumer relief per violation of both the Home Loan Practices Act and the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act to be payable to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Assistance Fund.

Since 2010, the Attorney General’s Homeowner Protection Unit (HPU) has filed more than 166 lawsuits against mortgage-rescue companies. In many of these cases the state is awarded default judgments, but companies do not often pay the ordered consumer restitution. To help these already struggling homeowners, the Indiana General Assembly created the Consumer Protection Assistance Fund which is made up of monies recovered from those sued by the Attorney General’s office for violating consumer protection laws.

Along with Indiana, the FTC and CFPB, attorneys general from the following states participated in today’s sweep: Arizona, Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Washington and Wisconsin.  Also participating are the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulations and Washington Department of Financial Institutions.

Source: IN Attorney General Greg Zoeller

 

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