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. “
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.