Home foreclosure consultants warned to register with AG's office

Chris Rizo Jun. 1, 2009, 1:18pm

Jerry Brown (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)- California home foreclosure consultants must register with the state attorney general's office and post a $100,000 bond by July 1.

In a statement, Attorney General Jerry Brown said those who flout the new law will be subject to criminal penalties of up to a year in jail and fines ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 per violation.

"California is awash with con artists who prey on vulnerable families facing foreclosure," Brown said. "By forcing foreclosure consultants to submit detailed information to my office and post a $100,000 bond, this registry will help bring long-overdue transparency to this shadowy world."

In recent months, flimflam artists have targeted struggling homebuyers, promising quick fixes to consumers. Actually, officials say they do little more than charge exorbitant up-front fees for the little or no help they provide.

If a company is found to have violated state law, a judge can order restitution to the victims out of proceeds from the $100,000 bond, the attorney general's office said.

The legislation establishing the foreclosure consultant registry was sponsored by House Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles. The new law -- outlined in Assembly Bill 180 - was signed into law last year by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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