Keith Loria Oct. 21, 2010, 3:47pm
VINCENNES, Ind. (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced on Wednesday that he has filed lawsuits against 10 foreclosure consultants that allegedly took advantage of consumers through illegal foreclosure schemes.
The suits were filed against the N.J.-based Colonial Financial Solutions; Fla.-based Pierce, Taylor & Budrow; Calif.-based American Lending Review; N.J.-based National Future Mortgage; Fla.-based Oceanview Investment Services; Calif.-based US Homeowners Relief; N.J.-based Integrated Financial Solutions; Calif.-based Meridian Law Center; N.Y.-based Manhattan Mitigation; and Nev.-based Fair Lending Review.
Zoeller alleges that many of these companies promised people facing foreclosure that they could save their homes with 100 percent guarantees, but these claims were never proven true, resulting in the loss of many homes and money that was given to these companies.
These claims of aid were false and illegal, Zoeller alleges. One lawsuit, filed against US Homeowners Relief, alleged that in December 2008, Ronalee Sims paid Oceanview Investment Services $1,895 to modify her home loan to stop foreclosure. The company advertised a money-back guarantee, but Sims lost her home and her money has not been refunded, Zoeller claims.
"These so-called 'foreclosure consultants' are taking advantage of Hoosiers who are facing desperate financial hardships and scamming them out of thousands of dollars. They are operating illegally and this will not be tolerated in Indiana," Zoeller said.
"Working to protect Hoosier consumers includes bringing actions against those who violate our state laws and also warning people to protect themselves, their family and their neighbors - don't let a loved one fall victim to these scams, no matter how convinced they may be of their legitimacy."
On Wednesday, the Federal Trade Commission announced a new rule prohibiting debt relief organizations from collecting upfront or advance fees for services that have not been performed.
This new rule takes effect on Oct. 27 and will be an additional enforcement measure Zoeller will consider taking to stop illegal foreclosure consultants.
"I applaud the FTC's efforts to protect consumers with this new prohibition on advance fees and we will continue to work closely with other state and federal agencies to enforce laws designed to protect consumers," Zoeller said.
This year, Zoeller's office has filed lawsuits against or reached settlements with 27 foreclosure consultants located in states around the nation.