PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Legal Newsline) - Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin announced on Thursday that his office has received a temporary restraining order against a mortgage modification company that allegedly violated state laws.
East Coast Fidelity LLC, also known as Fidelity Corp., and Janice McCarthy, the company's manager, allegedly violated the state's Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Mortgage Foreclosure Consultant Regulation Act by fraudulently advertising and marketing the company as a loan modification and foreclosure rescue services provider.
Under terms of the order, East Coast Fidelity and its employees are enjoined and restrained from doing business as mortgage foreclosure consultants, soliciting consumers with respect to mortgage modification services and in any way holding themselves out to the general public as mortgage foreclosure consultants, mortgage modification specialists, debt management servicers or any service or business transaction referred to in the Mortgage Foreclosure Consultant Registration Act until further order of the court. The state's motion for a preliminary injunction has been scheduled for Oct. 27.
"The law is clear in Rhode Island that the soliciting of upfront fees for loan modifications or other types of foreclosure relief, is absolutely prohibited," Kilmartin said. "As a result of these unconscionable and unscrupulous actions, homeowners, who are already desperate to save their homes are put in danger of imminent and irreparable harm. These types of scam artists are devoid of conscience in their deceptions and must be shut down."
Customers from several states -- including New York, North Carolina and Kentucky -- complained that the company allegedly required upfront fees for mortgage modification and foreclosure services without providing the promised services and in most cases not providing a refund.
"What is of great concern is that for the few consumers who file a complaint with our office, I fear there are many more that do not know where to turn when they are scammed by a mortgage modification specialist, especially if the business is located out of state," Kilmartin said. "As with the case of these complainants, who are not Rhode Island residents, we take great care to address each complaint the office receives and work closely with attorneys general in other states for those who may be harmed by out of state businesses.
The Mortgage Foreclosure Consultant Registration Act in Rhode Island states that it is illegal for companies to charge any fees for foreclosure assistance until consumers receive all services for which they paid.