RALEIGH, N.C. (Legal Newsline) - North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced on Tuesday that a Winston-Salem foreclosure assistance company has been permanently banned from offering credit repair or foreclosure assistance services in the state.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Michael Morgan signed a consent judgment between Cooper and Edward Phillip Long, Jr., doing business as Credit Entertainment Services, on Monday. The terms of the agreement statethat Long is banned from offering loan modification and foreclosure services in North Carolina and must pay $5,600 for consumer restitution.

"These schemes are a waste of homeowners' money and can actually end up costing them their homes," Cooper said. "Struggling homeowners are much better off working with their bank or a free housing counselor than falling for a scam."

Cooper's office sued Long in May. Since that time, Credit Enhancement Services has stopped operating. Long allegedly charged upfront fees of between $300 and $500, promising to obtain favorable loan modifications to save the homes of customers from foreclosures. Despite the alleged assurances by Long, many homeowners were unable to attain the modifications to their loans with some losing their homes to foreclosure.

It is illegal in the state of North Carolina to charge an advance fee for loan modifications or foreclosure assistance, which is a change to the law that Cooper facilitated in 2005.

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