A press release earlier today from the FTC shows that they are not in fact starting to sleep but still actively going after those who are accused of scamming home owners into illegally paying upfront fees for loan modification services which are never completed.
From the press release:
Infinity Group Services and its president are charged with violating the FTC Act by falsely representing that they would obtain a loan modification in all, or virtually all, instances; that they would give full refunds if they failed to do so; and that they would obtain loan refinancing for an up-front fee of $995.
According to the FTC's complaint, the defendants' radio ads and Web site urged consumers to call a toll-free number. Once consumers called, the defendants' sales personnel promised that, in return for the up-front fee, the company would help them modify their mortgage loans through the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Hope for Homeowners program. The defendants claimed a high success rate and offered a full refund if they failed. The FTC alleges that the company often failed to obtain loan modifications and either failed to answer or return consumers' telephone calls or update them about their status. When consumers were able to contact the defendants, they were falsely told that negotiations were proceeding smoothly or that lenders had caused a delay. In many instances, consumers received refunds only after repeatedly complaining to the FTC, the California Attorney General's Office, or the Better Business Bureau.
The FTC's complaint further alleged that the defendants also offered mortgage loan refinancing for a "flat fee" of $995 but then sought additional fees ranging from $2,000 to $15,000. In other instances, consumers were led to believe that they had closed on their loans but were later told by the defendants that the loan would not be funded. According to the complaint, the defendants' Web site stated that there were no hidden costs, but a fine-print footnote stated, "Rates, Fees and Terms are subject to change."
The press release also has an update on the Lucas Law Center Drama:
The FTC has obtained a stipulated federal court order barring Lucas Law Center and its principals from misrepresenting their services and charging up-front fees. The defendants allegedly used an attorney to circumvent California prohibitions against receiving a fee before providing any services. In addition to falsely representing that they would obtain mortgage loan modifications, the defendants allegedly told some homeowners to stop paying their mortgage in order to pay the defendants' fees of up to $3,995.
To read the full press release click here: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/09/loanmods.shtm