Hey, FedUp, long time no hear. Hope you are well.
iknow has hit the nail on the head. Nothing has been done to help Pops except lightening his load by a couple thousand bucks. Has Pops ever seen one document from this "lawyer"? What is being described with making "3 payments on time" and filling out a "paperwork packet"...well, I would bet a catfish that Pops and this "lawyer" are filling out a loan mod packet (and those work out sooo well!)
Report this bottom feeding lawyer ASAP. Is it a real lawyer or someone claiming to be a "specialist"? Oh, and show this to Pops so he can call the MI AG. Heaven only knows what this conman "lawyer" got Pops to do. For one thing, ONLY $2000.00 to fight foreclosure and save a home? That would be a bargain basement deal even down here in the deep South...$2000.00 to help someone fill out a useless loan mod packet is a gross overcharge! And I seriously doubt this amount would cover BK filings, but maybe it would.
I hate to sound like an evil "B", but if Pops just quit paying the mortgage he really cannot seriously think he can keep the home through "Paperwork Magic and Sleight of Hand". You might want to be a sport and help this family find some large boxes for their upcoming move...
The Attorney General provides Consumer Alerts to inform the public of unfair, misleading, or deceptive business practices, and to provide information and guidance on other issues of concern. Consumer alerts are not legal advice, legal authority, or a binding legal opinion from the Department of Attorney General.
FORECLOSURE AND CREDIT ASSISTANCE
As a result of the recent home mortgage foreclosure crisis, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of unscrupulous businesses that promise to help consumers keep their homes. The Federal Trade Commission has warned of scam artists who prey on the vulnerability of desperate homeowners in order to collect handsome fees -- but don't deliver any of the promised services. Many of these shady operations engage in high-pressure sales tactics and demand substantial fees in advance. (Links to consumer alerts and advisories are set forth below.)
If you are behind on your mortgage payments and facing foreclosure, WATCH OUT for fraudulent foreclosure consultants who target distressed homeowners. The following tips can help you avoid being scammed.
RED FLAGS -- Avoid Working with any person or company that:
Guarantees to stop the foreclosure process - no matter what the circumstances. Instructs you not to contact your lender, lawyer, or credit or housing counselor.
Collects a fee before completing all services. This practice may be illegal in many circumstances in Michigan under the Credit Services Protection Act. (See Below for an explanation of that Act)
Encourages you to lease or rent your home so you can buy it back over time.
Tells you to make your mortgage payments directly to it, rather than to your lender.
Tells you to transfer your property deed or title to it.
Offers to fill out paperwork for you.
Pressures you to sign paperwork that you haven't had a chance to read thoroughly or that you don't understand.
Mortgage Fraud and Foreclosure Rescue ScamsMichigan ranks in the top 5 states in the country for mortgage fraud and foreclosure rescue scams. To combat these crimes, the Michigan Foreclosure Task Force secured funding to launch Scam Alert awareness campaigns.
- A “Foreclosure Prevention Specialist” Scam: Involves someone taking the homeowners money up front to work with the lender and “save” their home. They will look professional but take the homeowners money and do nothing to save the home.
- The Lease/Buy Back Scam: In this scam, homeowners are tricked into signing over the deed to their home based on promises that they can stay in the home as a renter and buy it back later. Generally, the terms of the lease are so difficult that homeowners are rarely, if ever, able to repurchase their homes.
- Bait-and-Switch Scam: In this scam, a homeowner unwittingly signs over the deed to the home thinking s/he is merely refinancing it to provide income. A typical target for this scam is elderly widowed women many of whom end up being evicted from a home they have owned outright and lived in for years.
In order to prevent being victimized by a foreclosure or mortgage scam:
- Never pay anyone up front to help you work with your lender;
- Never trust anyone who guarantees they can save your home;
- Never sign anything you haven’t read or don’t fully understand;
- Always seek the help of a FREE HUD or MSHDA-certified foreclosure counselor.
If you think you’ve been the victim of a foreclosure scam, report it by contacting the Michigan State Attorney General’s Office or calling 877.765.8388. If you would like to register a complaint about a licensed mortgage broker or lender contact the Office of Financial and Insurance Services or call 877.999.6442
Michigan State’s Attorney General’s office has made the prosecution of mortgage fraud and foreclosure rescue scams a high priority. However, in order to prosecute scam artists, it is important to know the law.
In the state of Michigan, laws are in place that make it illegal to require payment for a service before the service is rendered. As almost all scams will ask for money up front, they are able to be prosecuted.
So, just for fun, let's see how far we have come over the past twelve-thirteen years. Just found this this morning and the song and the tune are familiar as the long running hits always are. Feel free to hum along. It is the same consarned things that Fairbanks was doing all those years ago! Boggles the mind, doesn't it? The servicers have used the law to tweak their frauds and so it goes, world without end...
Think The Mortgage Industry Has Cleaned Up Its Act? Think Again.
Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a report detailing abuses by mortgage servicers. Despite numerous legal settlements and pledge after pledge by servicers that they follow the law, the report exposes the many ways these companies have continued to do wrong by consumers, making the case for a strong financial regulator to protect consumers from unscrupulous or incompetent financial services firms.
Mortgage servicers are the companies primarily responsible for collecting mortgage payments from borrowers and forwarding them on to the lender or, if the loan is securitized, the investors. They are also the companies in charge of foreclosing on homes or helping troubled borrowers modify their loans to avoid foreclosure. Since the start of our housing crisis, servicers have become notorious for their failure to perform even routine administrative tasks competently as well as for forging paperwork and foreclosing on borrowers even when modifying their loan would have returned more value to the loan’s owner.
Consider one example of the enforcement actions detailed in the CFPB report: The agency had to force two unnamed servicers to stop requiring borrowers to waive their legal rights in order to obtain a loan modification. These waivers typically require the borrower to waive not only their legal rights related to the modification, but also those related to actions that have nothing to do with it and for illegal actions that have yet to occur. For example, a borrower could end up waiving her right to hold her lender accountable for lying about the terms of her mortgage, and as a result, the borrower would lose an important defense against foreclosure and could end up losing her home.
Because of their pernicious effects, the government has taken firm steps to combat these waivers. The government banned them for modifications supported by its Home Affordable Modification, or HAMP, program, and Fannie and Freddie also told their servicers not to use them. Even more broadly, the National Mortgage Settlement essentially prohibited them for the servicers involved in that agreement. In fact, in a public hearing on servicing practices where the topic of waivers came up, former chairman of the House Financial Services Committee Barney Frank told servicers in the strongest terms possible he never again wanted to hear about such a waiver being used.
Despite all of this, the CFPB found that two servicing firms were still asking all borrowers, regardless of their individual circumstances, to sign such waivers. Fortunately, the CFPB has the authority to regulate this practice, and did—ordering the servicers to stop this practice and to cease enforcing the waivers that borrowers had already signed.
The CFPB’s report also detailed other abuses, such as failing to honor loan modifications after a borrower’s loan was transferred from one servicer to another, flubbing the handling of tax and insurance payments from escrow accounts, and reporting incorrect, damaging information to credit agencies. As a result of CFPB’s enforcement actions, wronged consumers have received $2.6 million between July and October 2013.
The CFPB’s report makes clear that without a regulatory cop on the beat, our nation’s financial firms will continue to abuse consumers. It’s something we can’t forget as we get further and further away from the worst of the financial crisis.
David Sanchez is a Research Assistant for Housing Finance and Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.