Augusta, ME – July 8, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — State regulators today issued orders directing 15 separate foreclosure rescue companies to cease doing business with Maine consumers. The companies, all located out of state, enticed consumers with radio, television and internet advertisements promising to help the consumers avoid foreclosure but then took the consumers’ advance fees and did nothing to assist the consumers.
“Many debt management companies comply with the law and become licensed and bonded for the protection of consumers,” said Will Lund, Superintendent of Consumer Credit Protection. “These 15 companies, on the other hand, made false promises and then took money from desperate folks who could least afford to lose those funds.”
The companies took a collective $36,000 in advance fees from 30 Maine households, but have not saved a single home in the State from foreclosure nor reduced a single debt for a Mainer, said Lund. Further, he said, the companies have ignored all communications from state regulators.
“It’s heartbreaking to talk to consumers who have sent their last $495, $995 or $1,495 to a company that does nothing to help them,” said David Stolt, Chief Field Investigator for the Bureau. “These companies prey on desperate people that are already facing severe economic hardship. They adopt business names that make it seem that they are connected with the government foreclosure relief efforts or the stimulus recovery laws. They imply that they can save you and your home from foreclosure, and that for a fee they will get your lender to modify your mortgage loan. These advertisements are very slick, very convincing and very deceptive.”
The companies cited are:
Federal Loan Modification Law center; Irvine CA
United Hope Alliance Corp.; Jacksonville, FL
National Foreclosure Counseling Services; Jacksonville, FL
Hope Now Modifications; Cherry Hill, NJ
Pathway Financial Management; Stanton, CA
Law Offices of Joel L. Schwartz; Northfield, NJ
BillsMadeSimple.com, Inc; San Diego, CA
Lewis Foreclosure Mediation Services, LLC; Phoenix, AZ
Apply 2 Save, Inc.; Coeur d’Alene, ID
HelpModifyNow.com; Newport Beach, CA
Ocean View Investment Services Co.; Ft. Lauderdale, FL
FHA All Day; Boca Raton, FL
Mason Capital Group, LLC; Encino, CA
The Hall Firm; New York City, NY
Fresh Start Mortgage Assistance Solutions; Beverly Hills, CA and Clearwater, FL
A list of the 39 licensed and bonded debt management companies can be found at www.Credit.Maine.gov; under “Rosters” and then “Debt Management Service Providers.”
“Maine consumers should do business only with licensed and bonded companies,” said Stolt. “That way, if a consumer’s funds are lost due to a violation of law, the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection can make the consumer whole by recovering the consumer’s money from the surety bond.”
Consumers who have lost funds to unlicensed foreclosure rescue or debt management companies can file a complaint electronically with the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection, or download a paper complaint for mailing, at the website www.Credit.Maine.gov. They can also call 1-800-332-8529 (1-800-DEBT-LAW) with questions.
The Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, which encourages sound and ethical business practices through impartial and efficient regulation of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Maine. Consumers can reach the Bureau through the Department’s website (www.maine.gov/pfr); by calling 1-800-332-8529 (TTY for hearing impaired: 1-888-577-6690); or by writing to Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection, 35 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04333.
William N. Lund, Superintendent
Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection