By Mark Huffman

November 30, 2009
Getting a home mortgage modification has proved very hard to achieve so far. So, if a company makes it sound easy and promises they can make it happen, it may be wise to exercise a bit of skepticism.

In Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed lawsuits against three companies she says were operating mortgage rescue fraud schemes. The suits were filed against Loan Mod One, LLC; Freedom Mortgage Team, Inc.; and Living Modifications Corp.

"With home foreclosure rates steadily on the rise, we are working closely with our federal partners to leverage all available resources to stop mortgage rescue fraud," Madigan said. "Homeowners who believe they are at risk of losing their homes need to know that free, legitimate help is available. These rescue fraud schemers are not going to help modify your loan, work with your lender or represent you in court. Theyre simply going to take your money and run."

"Victims of fraud"

In New Jersey, meanwhile, nine companies have been cited for allegedly offering loan modification services to consumers without a license.

The nine companies each were cited for violating the state's Consumer Fraud Act for engaging in unconscionable commercial practices by allegedly offering to negotiate mortgage modifications without being licensed as a debt adjuster by the Department of Banking and Insurance.

"Homeowners looking for mortgage help instead are becoming victims of fraud, and risk ending up in a worse situation," New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram said. "We want these nine unlicensed debt-adjuster companies to reimburse consumers for fees paid and to comply with our laws."

The Notices of Violation are the latest in an on-going series of actions taken by the Attorney General and the state's Division of Consumer Affairs to protect consumers in the current mortgage and home foreclosure crisis. To date, 11 civil lawsuits have been filed against 102 defendants who allegedly committed mortgage or foreclosure fraud against consumers.

The Division also filed suit against a Lakewood-based firm, United Credit Adjusters, and obtained a court judgment in July that permanently barred the company from performing credit counseling, credit repair or debt adjuster work in New Jersey.

The nine companies each sent a Notice of Violation on November 24 are Affordable Finance, LLC; EZ Financial Solutions, LLC; Home Rescue' Best Response Loan Mod; Legal Loan Modifications, Inc; Premier Service Consultants, LLC; RJD Consulting, Inc.; United Global Services, LLC; and Xtra Financial, LLC.

Each company has been assessed a $5,000 civil penalty, in addition to making consumer restitution.