Jay Nixon (D)

Jefferson City, Mo. (Legal Newsline)-Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon on Monday began a special legal campaign targeting mortgage fraud.

To kickoff his effort, the Democratic attorney general filed seven lawsuits against individuals and companies Nixon says have defrauded consumers through refinancing, advance fee and foreclosure consulting scams.

The complaints were filed Monday in Buchanan, Greene, Henry, Jackson, St. Louis, and St. Charles counties.

Nixon said in a statement that in some of the cases the consumers were worse off financially after dealing with the companies than they were before they called them.

"As more and more families are threatened with foreclosure on their homes during these tough economic times, unscrupulous people will try to take advantage of them under the guise of help," Nixon said. "With these lawsuits, we are working to stop the empty promises made to and the exploitation of homeowners who already are in dire straits."

The defendants sued engage in foreclosure rescue scams by promising struggling homebuyers help with their mortgages, but actually give little help if any.

Nixon's campaign drew praise from advocates for seniors.

"Anyone taking advantage of needy Missourians, especially seniors, in this way needs to be stopped," said Dorothy Knowles, president of the Missouri Alliance of Area Agencies on Aging.

John McDonald, AARP's Missouri state director, said given the lackluster economy, Missouri homebuyers need to have confidence in their financial advisers and lenders.

"Our hope is that a crackdown like this one will send a message to others who would try to take advantage of seniors who desperately need help with their housing situation," McDonald said.

Those companies and individuals sued Monday are:

- St. Anthony Avenue LC, based in St. Louis County. The lawsuit was filed in St. Louis County;
- Private Funding Solutions, based in St. Charles, and its president, Mike C. Rothweiler. The lawsuit was filed in St. Charles County;
- Brian J. Thompson, of Springfield, who does business as "All Decked Out". The lawsuit was filed in Greene County; and
- Access Mortgage and Financial Corp., of Lansing, Mich., and its agents, David Snyder and Josh Nowell. The lawsuit was filed in Henry County;

- Christopher E. Cosma, of St. Peters, and three companies for which he was an agent -- America One Finance Inc., of Bellevue, Wash., Accredited Home Lenders, of San Diego, and Castle Point Mortgage Inc., of Elkridge, Md. The lawsuit was filed in St. Charles County;
- Fouquet Financial Services Inc., located in St. Joseph, and its president, Joseph M. Fouquet. The lawsuit was filed in Buchanan County.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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