Oregon AG takes aim at home foreclosure scams

Chris Rizo Aug. 26, 2009, 12:18pm

John Kroger (D)

SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline)-Oregon Attorney General John Kroger said Wednesday he is cracking down on loan modification companies that engage in deceptive and misleading business practices.

Kroger, a Democrat, said his Financial Fraud and Consumer Protection Unit has opened more than half a dozen investigations related to loan modification companies and mortgage fraud.

"I am committed to helping Oregonians stay in their homes during this recession," Kroger said. "We will not allow unprincipled companies to prey on vulnerable Oregonians."

Kroger, a former federal prosecutor, said his office has reached settlements with two unscrupulous home loan modification companies: National Homeowners Assistance Services, Inc., based in Lake Forest, Calif., and American Mitigation Group, based in Newport Beach, Calif.

The attorney general's office said the firms offered loan modification assistance and related services to homeowners facing foreclosure.

They "purposefully used tactics that could confuse homeowners, including implying they were affiliated with government agencies or programs," the AG's office said in a statement.

To settle, American Mitigation Group has paid $1,000 in restitution to an Oregon consumer and must pay an additional $3,000 to the Oregon Department of Justice for further restitution and to cover its costs.

National Homeowners Assistance Services must pay $4,000 to cover legal costs and must change its practices in order to continue to do business in Oregon.

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

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