29 Apr Florida Attorney General Sues “Foreclosure Consulting Service”
As the whole world knows, Lee County, Florida is leading the nation in foreclosures. The cities in Lee County that are experiencing the highest foreclosure rate are Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres. According to the latest statistics, something like 1 in 86 homes in Lee County are in the foreclosure process, and not much is being done to fix the leak in the dam.
Of course, with every crisis, there will be scam artists who will try to make money from the less fortunate, and there will be those that try to stop the scam artists. The Florida Attorney General, Bill McCollum, recently filed a lawsuit against a business in Clearwater, Florida for the use of unfair and deceptive practices against the public. The company named Law & Associates, LLC was sending out direct mail solicitations to Floridians who were going through the foreclosure process. The company offered foreclosure consulting services, but charged a large up front fee for those services, never followed through on the services, and failed to return monies despite a money back guarantee.
This scam involves the company monitoring the public records for foreclosure filings. Once they obtain the names and addresses of the individuals being foreclosed upon, Law & Associates, LLC immediately starts a direct mail campaign aimed at getting the homeowner to pay the consulting fee. (Interestingly, a search of the Florida Bar’s website reveals that that there is no known member of the Florida Bar listed as Thomas E. Law, II., so it appears this guy is not an attorney, yet is trying to capitalize on his last name and give the appearance of having the ability to do what he states).
Either way, the distressed homeowner is told that they have 72 hours to contact the company and when they do contact the company, they are told that they are eligible for the program, but they have to come up with a consulting fee of $1,500 to $2,000 for the company to take their case.
If the distressed homeowners can come up with the funds, then they must sign a contract which pretty much waives the consumer’s rights to have their money back. To realize the impact of this strategy, you have to realize the vulnerability of the distressed homeowners. These are good people who are desperate to save their homes, and they have probably been around the block several times with their lenders trying to get the mortgage modified or had their payments sent back to them for one reason or another, and they just want some relief.
Interestingly, there is a legitimate way to fight the mortgage companies in foreclosure legally; however, very few attorneys defend foreclosures. At the Dellutri Law Group, we defend foreclosures in Southwest Florida.
I will watch this case closely and monitor the Attorney General’s website to see if anything comes of this lawsuit.
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