McGraw says scammers using national mortgage settlement

Bryan Cohen Oct. 10, 2012, 2:00pm

CHARLESTON, W. Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw issued a warning on Wednesday to West Virginia borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure to avoid scammers claiming to offer help with the National Mortgage Settlement.

In March, 49 states reached a settlement with the five largest mortgage servicers in the nation - Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, Ally/GMAC.

The $25 billion settlement set aside $3.6 million in payments for borrowers in West Virginia who lost their homes to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011, while their loans were being serviced by one of the five banks.

Some allegedly deceitful organizations began offering help to eligible borrowers in return for a contingency fee of up to 20 percent of the expected payment. The fringe companies offer to help the consumers to submit simple claim forms.

McGraw said that consumers should never pay anyone to file a claim for a case brought by his office. Help from his Consumer Protection Division is always free.

"It's not complicated," McGraw said. "The claims process is simple and easy, so don't be fooled by outfits claiming you need their help with a settlement resulting from my office's enforcement efforts."

McGraw's office recently learned that a San Antonio-based company called Murray LLP ran Internet and television ads directing consumers to its website to help submit claims. The company allegedly charges eligible borrowers a 20 percent fee to submit a one-page claim form for the National Mortgage Settlement.

McGraw warned all homeowners to be aware of scams related to settlements and to never provide personal information or payment to anyone claiming to provide settlement related assistance.

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