Ind. AG files suits on behalf of Lake County residents

Bryan Cohen Jun. 5, 2012, 6:32am


HOBART, Ind. (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed five lawsuits on Monday on issues ranging from car dealer violations to illegal foreclosure consultants to protect Lake County residents.

Hometown Motors and Luke's Family Motors allegedly took advantage of consumers by violating the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, state and federal odometer acts and the Indiana Automotive Unfair Practices Act.

Two Florida-based foreclosure consultants, Josegan Inc. and First Financial Link LLC, allegedly ripped off two Lake County residents of $3,500 by promising to reduce the homeowners' interest rates or monthly payments in exchange for a fee upfront.

The Vacation Store and its owner allegedly took payments for travel packages and failed to deliver payments to resorts for the accommodations purchased.

"The attorney general's office in Lake County is committed to protecting consumers here in the region," Zoeller said. "These lawsuits represent only a slice of what our Consumer Protection Division and Homeowner Protection Unit do on a daily basis. It's important to know that our office listened to local consumers and will use every resource available to pursue violators of the law."

Hometown Motors and John F. Petrassi, the company's owner, allegedly failed to provide titles to purchased vehicles and knowingly reported inaccurate years and mileage on a used vehicle. Luke's Family Motors allegedly misrepresented the mileage of a used vehicle and violated the terms of a previous settlement with Zoeller's office to return excess fees for document preparation to customers. Zoeller's lawsuits seek civil penalties and restitution in both auto-related matters.

First Financial Link and Josegan allegedly requested that consumers make payments that ranged from $1,500 to $2,000 for foreclosure prevention. Consumers eventually realized that little to no progress was made on their loans. The lawsuits against the two companies allege that the defendants violated the DCSA, the Home Loan Practices Act, the Mortgage Protection Fraud Act and the Credit Services Organization Act. The companies also failed to register a $25,000 surety bond with Zoeller's office to work as foreclosure consultants in Indiana. The lawsuits seek restitution, injunctions and civil penalties.

The Vacation Store and owner Tom Chocholek allegedly failed to deliver, violating the DCSA. The lawsuit against the defendants seeks $7,659 in consumer restitution and civil penalties.

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