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Cooley and Lawyers Committee File Lawsuit on behalf of Loan Modification Scam Victims

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law “Lawyers’ Committee” and pro bono counsel Cooley LLP filed a lawsuit in Orange County, California, on behalf of 14 homeowners from 10 states against a network of for-profit loan modification companies.

The suit alleges that these for-profit loan companies defrauded vulnerable homeowners out of tens of thousands of dollars by falsely promising – for substantial upfront fees and also monthly membership/installment payments – to obtain much-needed mortgage modifications on their behalf, but consistently failing to deliver results.

“This type of scam activity continues to have a severe impact on financially distressed homeowners who are desperately trying to save their homes,” said Linda Mullenbach, senior counsel for the Fair Housing and Fair Lending Project of the Lawyers’ Committee.  “

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This lawsuit also seeks to halt a disturbing trend of attorney involvement in the scam operations, touting the attorney’s specialized experience and using one’s status as an attorney to gain trust.  As a result, these homeowners are defrauded out of thousands of dollars in illegal fees and suffer other losses as a direct result of the scammers’ activities and deceit.”

“It is always unfortunate to see people seek to profit off of others’ hardship, but it is especially troubling at a time when many homeowners are struggling to keep their homes and are at their most vulnerable,” said Koji Fukumura, a partner at Cooley in San Diego.

“These scammers come in offering false hope and lofty promises, but really have one goal – to defraud these homeowners out of as much money as possible,” said Brad Lebow, a senior associate at Cooley.  “In addition to losing thousands of dollars, these homeowners typically will be left in greater danger of foreclosure.”

This case is the Lawyers’ Committee’s eleventh loan modification scam lawsuit filed nationwide and its fourth filed in California.  As part of the Lawyers’ Committee’s work with the Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network (LMSPN), this litigation effort has sought to put an end to the fraudulent and deceptive behavior of so-called loan modification “specialists” in California, Florida, Georgia and New York.

Since the launch of the national LMSPN database in February 2010 through November 15, 2012, over 27,700 homeowners nationwide have reported loan modification scams or potential scams that have resulted in losses totaling over $65 million.

More than 5,500 of these reports have been submitted by California homeowners, who have reported losses of over $19.5 million in fees paid to alleged loan modification scammers.

Cooley and Lawyers Committee File Lawsuit on behalf of Loan Modification Scam Victims by

  • raquel wilson

    My name is Raquel Wilson, I am writing you to beg you for your help.

    In late 2006, I purchased my 1st home, then as a single mother of a 11 year old boy, finally getting some form of semblance in my life, transitioning from NY to Florida and a great job with a world wide company, CB Richard Ellis as a Construction Project Manager, making $65,000 with a $7,000 bonus and child support $10,000. Who knew in the years to come, it would all fall apart.

    Although I am great full for having my home it has been no easy task. In the last few years bank of America has assisted me increasing my mortgage to pay off past due, placed a lien on my property in 2010 for past due (originally countrywide loan-which I believe is a class action suit now) after I resumed paying regular mortgage payments, until end of 2011; at which time I contacted bank of America to let them know I needed help reducing mortgage payments, and wanted to take full advantage of their offer “if you ever have an issue with your mortgage, let us know we will be glad to help”.

    I submitted all documents in December 2011, after the bank asked for the same information in February and i noticed it was taking awhile I went to NACA for help, in March 2011.

    NACA felt confident they could succeed in completing loan modification- lower interest rate, PITI, lower payment and possible reduction in money owed on property; Being that my home originally was worth $220,000 and now worth 140,000.

    I submitted the same paperwork with updated paycheck and bank statements to NACA, I figured since the process with Bank of America it shouldn’t take long to complete.

    I was mindful of keeping all communication, including requests made by Bank of America through mail or Fedex only on NACA website, any requests made was gathered and submitted (uploaded) to NACA website within 24-48 hours, of request.

    Even though as you go through the history of my online NACA file, you will see they asked for things 3-4 times, times I happily obliged and often begged for this process to be complete, so i can begin to pay mortgage. To no avail the bank still persisted in asking for information- that was previously submitted, which was always fresh and up to date time, keeping within the period of 60-90 days.

    12 months into both process, my intial request to Bank of America and through NACA; Bank of America declined me primarily for being 12 months behind and debt to loan ratio. Which the bank and NACA stated my salary of $9.50 job initially, would be fine. Currently I am employed and making $12 an hour. It is a long way from my previous salary but, I am diligently searching for a job making what I once made.

    I originally started this letter to you yesterday; to my dismay I received both a letter from new loan modification contact, Andrew Celanski to review modification and another letter stating my credit is an issue with my modification and they want proof i started process before. i found and uploaded documentation from the bank on modification dated feburary 2012 but the intial contact was December 2011.

    I am begging you for your help in this confusing matter that started at a time I was current with my mortgage, to get my modification completed so i can save my home.

    Sorry for the long letter. Thank you very much..

    Sincerely

    Raquel Wilson

  • RD Legal Funding

    This is a very sad case and occurrence and it isn’t rare. It’s hard enough to avoid all the common scams with getting a house but it seems there are even more challenges against people who just want to get a home. Since the recession, there have been actions against the actors who pushed these products on people meanwhile illegally profiting from their crimes and manipulations. This lawsuit is one in many but are rightful reactions to people pushing the boundaries and disregarding the law.

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