A nationwide mortgage relief operation is being sued by the Federal Trade Commission for taking advantage of desperate homeowners with bogus loan modification services.
The FTC's lawsuit represents the latest action in the agency's ongoing crackdown against swindlers that prey on homeowners who fall behind on their mortgage payments or face foreclosure.
The defendants include U.S. Mortgage Funding Inc., Debt Remedy Partners Inc., Lower My Debts.com LLC, David Mahler, Jamen Lachs, and John Incandela, Jr. The FTC is seeking to shut down the scheme and force the defendants to refund consumers.According to the FTC's complaint, the defendants targeted financially-troubled people via direct mail, the Internet and telemarketing, claiming 100% money-back guarantees to negotiate loan modifications to lower monthly mortgage payments.
The defendants regularly made promises to homeowners whose lenders previously denied them loan modifications, as well as those who'd received foreclosure notices. The scammers charged consumers upwards of $2,600 for their worthless services and typically asked for half of the fee in advance, claiming a nearly 100% success rate.
The complaint accuses the defendants of misleading homeowners about their ability to prevent foreclosure as well as a supposed affiliation with, or approval by, the consumers' lenders. Homeowners who fell for the scam were instructed to cease contact with their lenders and stop making mortgage payments in order to demonstrate their financial hardship.
The FTC has charged U.S. Mortgage Funding, Debt Remedy Partners, Lower My Debts.com, Mahler, Lachs and Incandela of violating the FTC Act and the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule.
In addition, the defendants are also charged with deceiving homeowners about their purported relationship with their lenders and for assuring them of a full refund if they failed to deliver on their false promises. They're also charged with calling numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry, as well as failing to pay an annual fee for accessing numbers on the Registry.
For more information from the FTC on how to help save your home from foreclosure and avoid getting scammed, click here.
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Another Loan 'Modification' Scheme Accused of Taking Money, Doing Little