CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced lawsuits on Monday against three Chicago-area companies, marking her 50th lawsuit against mortgage rescue schemes that allegedly target distraught homeowners.
Two of the lawsuits were filed in Cook County Circuit Court against Acceptance Financial Corporation and Elite Outsourcing Services Inc. Madigan also filed suit against International Embassy Realty Inc. in Kane County Circuit Court. Madigan alleges that the companies took more than $44,000 in upfront fees from consumers with promises to help them obtain a mortgage loan modification.
Madigan's lawsuit against Acceptance Financial and Anatoly Nirshberg, its president, alleges that consumers lost more than $14,800. Nirshberg allegedly targeted mostly Russian and Polish immigrant communities, frequently advertising on Russian news and Polish radio outlets that he would help secure loan modifications in just a few months for an upfront fee ranging from $750 to $3,000.
Elite Outsourcing Services and owner and operator Kenneth Thompson, who allegedly falsely represents himself as an attorney, allegedly accepted illegal upfront fees from at least 100 homeowners seeking loan modifications. Elite operators allegedly even referred files to Madigan's office as a false means of providing loan modification services to defend charging upfront payments. Consumers reportedly lost more than $13,000 in the scheme.
In the third lawsuit, International Embassy Realty and its president Sandro Rodriguez allegedly took in more than $16,000 in upfront fees from homeowners. Rodriguez allegedly targeted Spanish speakers, instructing homeowners to stop paying their mortgages in order to speed up the process for a loan modification. This put many homeowners at a higher risk for foreclosure.
Madigan's lawsuits ask the court to shut down the operators and obtain restitution for consumers. In addition, the lawsuits seek to bar the defendants from providing mortgage rescue services in Illinois and to order the defendants to pay civil penalties for violations of the Mortgage Rescue Fraud or Consumer Fraud Act.
"These entities are nothing more than scam operations, illegally charging consumers huge sums in return for no help," Madigan said. "They've scammed families out of thousands of dollars while putting them at even higher risk for foreclosure."