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FTC Refunds Nearly $3 Million After Mortgage Scam

cuna.org | June 1, 2014

WASHINGTON (6/2/14)--The Federal Trade Commission will pay out almost $3 million to more than 6,300 consumers who fell victim to a mortgage relief scam.
Starting in mid-2010, entities called Prime Legal Plans and Reaching U Network marketed mortgage relief services in English and Spanish. They contacted consumers who were in debt and told them they would have attorneys review consumers' mortgage loan documents to see if they were in compliance with the law, telling consumers that "80% of mortgages contain some fraud."
The entities told consumers the findings would help them negotiate lower mortgage rates, but instead charged up to $750 a month while doing nothing to help consumers stave off foreclosure.
On company websites, these entities claimed to be a private charity working for consumers, and would regularly cold call consumers, even ones on the Do Not Call list. The FTC has charged that these entities violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the FTC Act and the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule.
"Consumers should carefully evaluate offers of help in lowering their mortgage payments or saving their homes from foreclosure," reads a statement released by the FTC. "Consumers should also know that it is illegal for anyone to collect money up-front for loan modification or foreclosure rescue services."
The FTC's Mortgage Relief Scams website lists many of the common ways fraud can be perpetrated on homeowners, including:

  • Phony counseling or phantom help: Scam artists tell you that if you pay them a fee, they will negotiate a deal with your lender to reduce your mortgage payments or to save your home. They may claim to be attorneys or represent a law firm and tell you not to contact your lender, lawyer or credit counselor. Sometimes, phony counselors insist you make your mortgage payments directly to them while they negotiate with the lender.
  • Rent-to-buy schemes: Con artists tell you to surrender the title to your house as part of a deal that allows you to stay there as a renter and buy it back later. They say that surrendering the title will let a borrower with a better credit rating get new financing and prevent the loss of the home.
  • Bait-and-switch: Con artists give you papers they claim you need to sign to get another loan to make your mortgage current. But buried in the stack is a document that surrenders the title to your house to the scammers in exchange for a "rescue" loan.
The FTC, through an administrator, will mail checks that must be cashed by July 21. The amount consumers will receive varies depending on how much they lost. Consumers who have questions should call 1-877-291-8511 or visit the FTC refunds website.
The FTC reminds consumers that it never requires consumers to pay money or provide information before redress checks can be cashed.


Back to June 2014 Archive

CFLA was founded by the Nation's Leading Foreclosure Defense Attorneys back in 2007 to serve the Foreclosure Defense Industry and fight pervasive Bank Fraud. Since opening our virtual doors, CFLA has rapidly expanded to become the premier online legal destination for small businesses and consumers. But as the company continues to grow, we're careful to hold true to our original vision. For us, putting the law within reach of millions of people is more than just a novel idea—it's the founding principle, just ask Andrew P. Lehman, J.D.. With convenient locations in Houston and Los Angeles, you can contact Our National Account Specialist and General Manager / Member Damion W. Emholtz at 888-758-2352 for a free Mortgage Fraud Analysis or to obtain samples of work product, including cutting edge Bloomberg Securitization Audits, Litigation Support, Quiet Title Packages, and for more information about our Nationally Accredited and U.S. Department of Education Approved "Mortgage Securitization Analyst Training Certification" Classes (3 days) 24 hours for approved CLE & MCLE Credit (Now Available Online).

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