Florida AG sues three companies for charging upfront fees on loan mods
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed suit against three South Florida companies that were allegedly charging homeowners upfront fees for loan modifications. The announcement of the filings was made Monday. Home Owner Protection Economics, DC Financial Group and Deleverage America, under the direction of owners Dennis Fischer and Christopher Godfrey, "collected thousands of dollars monthly in upfront fees for loan modification services that were never provided," according to the AG's office. The companies are stationed in Delray Beach, Fla. HousingWire tried contacting these firms. Two of the voice mailboxes were full and one company's contact information could not be retrieved. According to Florida law, charging upfront fees for foreclosure rescue services is illegal. The attorney general's economic crimes division, which is investigating the case, alleges each company charged upfront fees between $495 to $2,000 for foreclosure-related modifications that were never made. The lawsuit was filed with the Palm Beach County Circuit Court. AG Bondi ordered the defendants' assets to be frozen and that the companies cease operation until further order of the court. "Allegedly, the defendants falsely represented to homeowners that they would work with lenders to reduce the homeowners’ debt and prevent foreclosure, when in reality the lender banks were never contacted on the homeowners’ behalf," according to the AG's office. The companies were allegedly soliciting hundreds of homeowners nationwide via telemarketing, direct mail, email and Internet, print and television advertising. The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendants from charging upfront fees, in addition to restitution on behalf of victimized homeowners and a $15,000 civil penalty for each violation for the Foreclosure Fraud Prevention Act. Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.