Koster announces crackdown on mortgage rescue companies for unfair practices - Wayne County Journal-Banner Online: Business

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Koster announces crackdown on mortgage rescue companies for unfair practices

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Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012 10:41 am

Attorney General Chris Koster filed three separate lawsuits on Sept. 26 against individuals and their companies for misleading Missouri consumers in connection with mortgage-modification services. The lawsuits were filed against Colleen Kelly, a Missouri resident operating Heartland Loss Mitigation, LLC,; Eric Mader, a Florida attorney operating Mader Law Group, LLC, a Florida company; and Jim Caplan, a Florida attorney operating CAPLAW, P.A., a Florida company.

“Today’s lawsuits continue my office’s efforts to help Missouri homeowners who are trying to keep their homes as they work their way out of tough situations,” Koster said. “Companies that mislead consumers trying to save their homes from foreclosure should stay out of Missouri.”

The lawsuits allege that these companies engaged in multiple deceptive or unfair practices, including:

  • Requiring and receiving advance payment for loan-modification services;
  • Failing to provide the loan-modification services paid for by consumers in those advance fees;
  • Failing to refund consumers for loan-modification services not received;
  • Persuading consumers to cease mortgage payments to their lenders by promising successful loan modifications;
  • Failing to place legally required notifications of homeowners’ rights in contracts between defendants and those homeowners; and
  • Engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in Missouri.

The lawsuits are part of a continuing effort by the Attorney General’s Office to protect consumers from businesses that would take advantage of them by advertising and offering illegal mortgage-modification services.

Koster’s office is also working to help consumers who qualify for mortgage modifications under the National Mortgage Settlement. As of June 30, nearly 1,300 Missouri borrowers received $45 million in relief including principal reductions, short sales, refinancing, and other borrower assistance programs for individuals whose homes are worth less than they owe. Relief valued at $28 million was in the process of being provided to Missouri borrowers as of June 30. Consumers who are trying to work with Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase or Wells Fargo to modify their mortgage can call the Attorney General’s mortgage hotline at 855-870-7676.

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