CFPB resolves foreclosure fraud case, settlement reaches $12 million

one of the decades long Fraud cases A dispute between the regulator and scammers who targeted distressed mortgage borrowers ended this week with a $12 million settlement, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced.

The agreement resolves a dispute with Consumers First Law Group and four of its members, Thomas G. Macey, Jeffrey J. Aleman, Jason The crimes of Jason Searns and Harold E. Stafford, who were accused of “receiving millions of dollars in illegal advances from economic institutions.” – Distressed homeowners seek legal representation that defendants promised but failed to provide. “

The agency said in its initial complaint filed in 2014 that the defendants Deceiving customers into danger of foreclosure The CFPB said it provides mortgage relief in part by collecting loan modification payments before reaching an agreement with a lender. The whistleblower also instructed borrowers not to contact their mortgage companies and failed to make required disclosures.

The charges all violate what were formerly known as the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rules.

In 2019, a U.S. District Court imposed nearly $60 million in restitution fines and civil penalties after issuing an order and finding Consumer First Legal guilty. Three of the attorneys are also barred from future practice involving foreclosure or mortgage relief, while Stafford is barred from practice involving foreclosure or mortgage relief. Sentenced to a five-year ban.

The sentence comes after The Mortgage Law Group, the insolvency firm previously run by Macey, Aleman and Seens, was found guilty of the scam.

The defendants appealed, upholding the trial court’s ruling but reducing the fine to just under $30 million and shortening the plaintiff’s partial injunction to eight years in 2022. An appeal followed, as well as a cross-appeal from the CFPB.

In this week’s resolution, the CFPB, Consumer First Legal, and others painfully agreed to dismiss their appeal. The $12 million settlement includes $10.9 million in consumer restitution and a $1.1 million penalty payment to the CFPB Victim Relief Fund.

The eight-year bans on Messi, Aleman and Ciennes and the five-year ban on Stafford remain in place.

The CFPB filed the original lawsuit in 2014 as part of a coordinated effort by multiple regulators to target Operators of Foreclosure Relief ScamsThe settled case is one of three brought by the bureau, compared with six filed by the FTC.

In January, the FTC opened claims proceedings against victims of fraud in a 2014 case.More than 2,500 victims Clients of Lanier Law or its affiliates Eligible to receive proceeds from 2016 award against defendant. One of the fraudsters, Michael Lanier, was also disbarred in the order.

In a similar FTC case In addition to the joint efforts in 2014, the commission said last month that homeowners defrauded by the consumer protection company will receive more than $1.2 million in cumulative damages after a court determined the company violated its Mortgage Assistance Relief Services policy. The consumer protection company had promised customers monthly fees that would adjust their loan amounts after payments were made, but in some cases the company never contacted the lender.

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