WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)
— The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced a mortgage relief
operation and their companies will be banned from the mortgage loan
modification and debt relief business.
The FTC has obtained court orders that
resolve allegations the scheme duped financially distressed homeowners out of
thousands of dollars.
According to the FTC, the
alleged scammers promised homeowners legal representation to prevent
foreclosure. They would then purportedly charge an illegal fee in advance,
usually in the thousands of dollars. In some cases, the defendants would tell
consumers not to pay their mortgages while supposed loan modifications were in
progress under the assumption that the defendants would audit mortgage
documents for lender errors or lender fraud.
Defendants Edward William
Rennick III, Surety Law Group LLP and Redstone Law Group LLC agreed to a ban on
selling secured and unsecured debt relief products or services. The order
against these defendants also imposed an $8 million judgment, which will be
suspended upon surrender of frozen assets.
The FTC won a summary
judgment against additional defendants Michael W. Lanier, Rogelio Robles,
Lanier Law LLC, Fortress Law Group LLC, Fortress Law Group PC and Liberty &
Trust Law Group of Florida LLC for alleged violations of the FTC Act and the
Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule.