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Attorney General Joins Federal Agencies & States in Sweep
Targeting Mortgage Rescue Schemes
MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen today filed criminal lawsuits against individuals for operating fraudulent mortgage rescue, or loan modification, schemes that scammed consumers into paying large upfront fees but did nothing to help them stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure. The lawsuits are part of a joint federal-state sweep by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and 15 states targeting scam operations that prey on delinquent homeowners or those facing foreclosure.
Mortgage rescue scams target struggling homeowners and, for an upfront fee, promise to save their homes by negotiating lower mortgage payments with the homeowners’ lenders. But after collecting upfront fees, these scam operations fail to negotiate or perform any services on behalf of the homeowners, placing their victims at even greater risk of foreclosure.
“If you are promised a lower mortgage payment in exchange for payment, you should contact authorities to find out if the offer is legitimate,” Attorney General Van Hollen said.
Van Hollen today filed suit against Stuart Nisenbaum, Robert Garcia, and Brian Jennings for felony fraudulent writings, which consists of obtaining signatures by means of deceit. According to the criminal complaints, many of the consumer payments were made by signed personal check.
Along with the FTC and CFPB, attorneys general from the following states participated in today’s sweep: Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Washington and Wisconsin. Also participating are the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation and Washington Department of Financial Institutions.
In the Wisconsin cases, the charges are the result of an investigation by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Consumer Protection Unit. Assistant Attorney General Eric D. Défort represents the State of Wisconsin as the special prosecutor for the County of Milwaukee, where the cases are venued. Chapter 950 victim services are being provided by the Wisconsin Department of Justice Office of Crime Victim Services.
If you suspect a mortgage modification scam, please contact the Department of Justice Office of Consumer Protection at 1-800-998-0700, or the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (“DATCP”) at 1-800-422-7128.