TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a lawsuit on Friday against three South Florida companies for allegedly charging upfront fees for loan modification services.

Charging upfront fees for loan modification services is illegal in Florida. The suit names DC Financial Group, Home Owner Protection Economics Inc., Deleverage America Inc., and owners Dennis Fischer and Christopher S. Godfrey.

The companies and their owners allegedly collected thousands of dollars in monthly upfront fees for loan modification services that were never provided. The lawsuit requests that the defendants be forbidden from operating until further order of the court and that their assets be frozen.

The suit alleges that the companies, located in Delray Beach, charged upfront fees ranging from $495 to $2,000 for foreclosure-related loan modification services that were never rendered.

In addition, the suit alleges that the defendants falsely represented to homeowners that they would work directly with lenders to reduce the debt of the homeowners and prevent foreclosure, when the lender banks were never actually contacted. The companies allegedly solicited hundreds of homeowners nationwide via telemarketing, email, direct mail, print, internet and television advertising.

The suit prohibits the individuals and business from engaging in loan modification services or accepting upfront during the pending litigation.

The suit seeks a permanent injunction that would prohibit the defendants from charging upfront fees, civil penalties of $15,000 for each violation of the Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act, restitution on behalf of all victimized homeowners, and reimbursement for fees and costs of the investigation.

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