Editor's note: This is a corrected version of an earlier story that did not report that Litvin Law Firm will be able to continue business in Rhode Island if it becomes licensed through the state Supreme Court.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Legal Newsline) - Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin on Thursday reached an agreement with a New York-based law firm that allegedly violated the state's Deceptive Trade Practices Act and Mortgage Foreclosure Consultant Regulation Act.
Gennady Litvin, the owner of Litvin Law Firm PC, allegedly took on work from companies that were advertising foreclosure relief despite not being licensed to operate as an attorney or a licensed mortgage foreclosure consultant in Rhode Island. The companies that farmed out work to Litvin allegedly charged thousands of dollars in upfront fees in violation of the Mortgage Foreclosure Consultant Registration Act.
"Out of state attorneys who are not licensed by the Rhode Island Bar Association should not be allowed to profit from homeowners who are struggling to stay in their homes," Kilmartin said. "The promise of a mortgage modification may be no more than a promise and that's why no one should charge an up-front fee in violation of Rhode Island laws."
Superior Court Associate Justice Luis Matos approved an assurance of voluntary compliance that enjoins and restrains Litvin, Litvin Law Firm and the firm's employees and agents from doing business in Rhode Island as mortgage foreclosure consultants until it becomes licensed through the state Supreme Court.
The defendants were also barred from soliciting consumers in regards to mortgage modification services and holding themselves out to the general public as mortgage foreclosure consultants, debt management servicers or mortgage modification specialists until licensed.
The court order also prohibits Litvin Law Firm from advertising its services in the state of Rhode Island unless it becomes licensed by the state Supreme Court.
Under the terms of a settlement, Litvin agreed to pay more than $8,000 in restitution to a consumer complainant and to cooperate with Kilmartin's office on any future complaints.
"For homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage, there is free assistance from Rhode Island Housing and other HUD-certified loan counseling agencies based here in Rhode Island," Kilmartin said. "There is no need to pay thousands of dollars in up-front fees to companies that promise help but provide little or no real assistance other than draining your finances."