Bryan Cohen Aug. 11, 2014, 1:32pm

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen sued a Tampa law firm and related entities and individuals on Friday for allegedly engaging in a mortgage rescue scam.

Berger Law Group, Resolution Law Group and other entities and individuals allegedly collected at least $4.7 million in illegal upfront fees from distressed homeowners. The companies allegedly collected the fees by deceptively convincing consumers to pay to be included as plaintiffs in mass-joinder lawsuits against mortgage servicers or lenders. The defendants charged consumers approximately $6,000 and monthly payments of $500 for participating in the mass-joinder lawsuit.

Bondi and Jepsen alleged the four businesses and four individuals formulated and participated in a scam that made false promises of relief in violation of the federal Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule and state laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive trade practices.

"These mass joinder scams are some of the worst scams resulting from the foreclosure crisis because they take advantage of consumers’ trust in the legal system and legal advocates,” Bondi said. “I am thankful for Attorney General Jepsen’s partnership in holding these individuals responsible and providing relief to the consumers who were harmed.”

In addition to Berger Law Group and Resolution Law Group, Ian Berger, David Friedman, Resolution Law Center, Robert Geoffrey Broderick, Gary DiGirolamo and Litigation Law LLC were also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Bondi and Jepsen obtained a temporary restraining order and appointment of a receiver against the defendants. The order prohibits the defendants from taking consumer fees and making misrepresentations. The order also freezes bank accounts that were allegedly used to funnel profits to non-lawyers.

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