Greg Zoeller, Indiana attorney general, was in Fort Wayne on Monday at the Allen County Courthouse to send a warning to mortgage bailout scammers. Zoeller filed a lawsuit against Mortgage Auditing Solutions of California for allegedly entering into a contract with a Fort Wayne resident to lower home-loan payments and, instead, taking off with a $495 upfront payment.
Businesses that operate as mortgage bailout operations must file a $25,000 surety bond with the Attorney General's Office before they can operate. Currently there are only two organizations in the state in legal operation.
Mortgage Auditing Solutions is accused of violating the Credit Services Organization Act, Mortgage Rescue Protection Fraud Act, Deceptive Consumer Sales Act and the Home Loan Practices Act.
Separate lawsuits were also filed Monday in Whitley and Adams counties against Mortgage Solutions Clearing House of Florida and Federal Loan Modification Law Center of California. These companies are accused of taking $1,995 total in upfront payments from two victims and not obtaining the promised home-loan modifications. Defendants are accused of violating the Mortgage Rescue Protection Fraud Act and the Home Loan Practices Act.
All three companies did not register $25,000 surety bonds with the attorney general's office. Zoeller is seeking injunctions against the companies, restitution for the victims, civil penalties and investigative costs.
“With all the cold weather we have had people who are already struggling to pay their mortgage may find themselves having to choose between paying their heating bill or paying their mortgage,” Zoeller said.
Zoeller said his office is going after these businesses so in the future these operations will be less likely to target Indiana. He also said if people find themselves getting behind on their mortgage they are much better off contacting their mortgage lender, and they should do it before they get too far behind.
“Once a mortgage foreclosure is filed it becomes public record and that is how the scammers are finding people to target,” Zoeller said.
There are free services available to people who find themselves in this position from Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network at 1-877-Get-Hope (1-877-438-4673). People who have been victims of this type of scam can file a complaint with the attorney general's Consumer Protection Division, www.IndianaConsumer.com or by calling 1-800-382-5516.
The companies involved in the three filed scam cases are all out of the state.