The Ohio Attorney General's Office believes that because Ohio is one of the most foreclosed on states in America, it's residents who are in the most financial distress are being victimized by a wave of foreclosure rescue scams.
Ohio Attorney General Marc Dunn has announced that his office is suing six Ohio companies for alleged violations of five different acts. The Attorney General's office has cited 44 different counts of violations of the five acts. The companies can be charged up to a $25,000 fine for each violation of the acts.
The six companies who are being sued by the Attorney General's Office have allegedly scammed more than 70 homeowners who were each facing a foreclosure crisis.
Each company is accused of running a foreclosure rescue scam in which they promised desperate homeowners that they would be able to keep their homes if they paid a fee to the company to get the foreclosure action stopped.
Fees charged by these companies ranged from $425 to $1,200. Consumers who were destitute and clinging to hope that they would be able to save their homes somehow came up with the cash, yet cruelly, the companies allegedly pocketed the cash and the homes were still lost in foreclosure.
Some people might think that these homeowners should have known better, and that stopping a foreclosure can't be done with a little cash and a magic wand.
Well, maybe they should have checked into the details of the companies more thoroughly. However, when a family is in financial peril, facing bankruptcy and foreclosure, they are often desperate for any help.
These companies allegedly promised the homeowners that they would stop the foreclosures, and that is what any homeowner in foreclosure wants to hear. These companies allegedly gave families false hope of keeping their homes, took the money they obviously could not afford to lose and did nothing at all to stop the foreclosure actions.
The six companies are each charged with one count of violating the Debt Adjusters Act because they claimed to be able to discharge a note when they could not and did nothing even remotely similar to help the homeowners in foreclosure.
For failing to register with the state as required by law and making false promises of service to consumers, each company is facing at least two counts of violating Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act.
Four of the six companies are also facing three counts each for their alleged violation of the Telephone Solicitation Sales Act because they failed to register with the state and allegedly made false statements to consumers.
The Attorney General's lawsuit, if successful, will require the companies to pay restitution in full to all of the customers who have filed complaints against them and say that they were allegedly taken by the foreclosure rescue scams.
The amount of restitution is currently unknown because more complaints are likely since the Attorney General has announced the lawsuit. The suit also seeks to ban the companies from doing business until the restitution is paid in full.
The Massachusetts Attorney General has recently settled a similar lawsuit against a man who posed as a loan specialist and claimed he would help homeowners avoid foreclosure on their homes.
Instead of helping the homeowners out of foreclosure, he arranged transactions that allowed him to purchase the homes and then sell them and pocket the profits.
Walter Ribeck agreed to pay a $10,000 civil penalty to settle the lawsuit alleging he operated a foreclosure rescue scam. As a condition of the settlement he will also pay $100,000 in restitution to two homeowners who he allegedly scammed.