A Massachusetts court on Friday ordered a financial and legal services company to pay $1.9 million for allegedly targeting vulnerable consumers during the foreclosure crisis and engaging in unauthorized legal practice, state Attorney General Maura Healey said.
Healey added that Pinnacle Financial Consulting, based in Lawrence, and its owner Robert Burton had been permanently prohibited from soliciting, marketing or receiving fees related to providing loan modifications, legal document preparations, financial advising services or bankruptcy petition preparations.
“Our office will stand firmly against those who seek to exploit struggling homeowners for their personal gain,” Healey said. “This judgment should send a strong message that predatory foreclosure and loan modification scams will not be tolerated.”
Pinnacle allegedly received about $1.2 million from more than 600 commonwealth residents after the company allegedly misrepresented the services it could provide. The company also allegedly unlawfully charged advanced fees, practiced law without a license and exaggerated the benefits of its services.
Approximately $1.2 million of the judgment will go toward restitution for the consumers and approximately $665,000 will be paid in civil penalties. Pinnacle and Burton were also ordered to pay approximately $55,000 in attorneys' fees and costs.