R.I. AG shuts down pair of companies
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Legal Newsline) - Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin announced on Friday that his office has prevailed in shutting down two allegedly fraudulent mortgage modification companies and securing $5,500 in restitution for three consumers.
Kilmartin's office alleged that David Conti and Lucy Ruiz, who were allegedly representing Mortgage Modification Center, IMOD Corporation and Latin Service International, advertised and solicited consumers in violation of several laws, including the Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Mortgage Foreclosure Consultant Regulation Act.
"These unscrupulous individuals prey on homeowners who are in jeopardy of losing their homes and desperate to do anything to save it from falling into foreclosure," Kilmartin said. "It is despicable for anyone to take advantage of these hard working homeowners."
Kilmartin alleged that since at least April 2009, Conti and Ruiz advertised, marketed and sold purported mortgage loan modification and foreclosure rescue services, specifically targeting the Hispanic community. Conti and Ruiz also allegedly engaged in a scheme to swindle distressed homeowners by enticing them with promises of negotiating loan modifications with lenders, representing that they could secure lower, fixed interest rates, principal reductions, lower monthly payments and forgiveness of arrearages.
Conti and Ruiz allegedly required homeowners to pay an upfront fee ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 in advance of providing services and refused to refund homeowners' money despite not performing the services for which they were contracted.
As part of a settlement, Conti and Ruiz were enjoined from doing business as mortgage foreclosure consultants and agreed to cease and desist from doing business as mortgage modification specialists. Conti and Ruiz also agreed to pay restitution to the three consumers who initiated the complaints to Kilmartin's office.
Under the Mortgage Foreclosure Consultant Registration Act, it is illegal for companies to charge any fees for foreclosure assistance until consumers receive all of the services for which they paid.