MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced on Friday that he has obtained a default judgment against a home modification company that allegedly misrepresented that it was affiliated with the federal government.
The judgment alleges that the California-based 21st Century Legal Services Inc., violated state law while marketing purported loan modification services, collecting as much as $3,500 in up-front fees.
The complaint alleged that the company preyed on distressed homeowners with its loan modification services. The company allegedly offered services by phone, but was not registered with the state's No Call registry.
Representatives would then allegedly meet with the homeowners to collect up-front fees. These representatives were allegedly actually local notaries paid by the defendant.
The notaries alleged that 21st Century would instruct them to ask homeowners to only complete a portion of the legal documents being signed or to not leave the signed documents with the homeowners, both illegal under state law.
"The Wisconsin Department of Justice continues to work with local and federal law enforcement in prosecuting companies engaged in loan modification fraud," Van Hollen said.
"It is illegal to charge up-front fees for loan modification and foreclosure services in the State of Wisconsin. Distressed homeowners should instead go directly to their lenders or contact a HUD- approved housing counselor who will work with the homeowner for free."
Under terms of the judgment, 21st Century is required to pay $299,662.92 and is enjoined from conducting business in further violation of the law.