J.B. Van Hollen (R)
MADISON, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - A lawsuit was filed by the Wisconsin Department of Justice against a California-based company that allegedly violated Wisconsin law in soliciting and selling purported loan modification services to homeowners.
The complaint alleges that 21st Century Legal Services, Inc., solicited loan modification consulting services by mail, telephone and email to homeowners in distress who were facing foreclosure.
Initial contact with the homeowners was allegedly made by telephone. A follow-up meeting saw 21st Century send a company representative to a customer's home. The representative were local notaries who had been hired to go to potential customers' homes and obtain signatures on sales agreements.
The state's complaint alleges that the notaries were instructed not to leave copies of signed agreements with customers by 21st Century. The notaries were also advised to obtain fees in advance of services. Both actions are violation of state law.
Further allegations in the suit, filed with a Dane County Circuit Court, allege multiple violations of state law, including misrepresentations made in the course of conducting sales, failure to provide signed copies of sales agreements to consumers, failure to disclose the names of representatives making face-to-face solicitations and engaging in telemarketing practices that were in violation of the state's No Call laws.
"Let this serves as a warning to would-be scam artists that the Department of Justice will prosecute those who engage in this type of activity in Wisconsin," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "My office continues to work with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Department of Financial Institutions in identifying and prosecuting companies who commit fraud against already vulnerable homeowners."
The defendant is also facing suits filed by other states. In September, the FBI raided several of the company's office in California.