Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Arizona AG Targets Three Outfits With Civil Lawsuits In Probe Into Loan Modification Scams

In Phoenix, Arizona, The Arizona Republic reports:

  • The Arizona Attorney General's Office is accusing three loan-modification companies of targeting Spanish-speaking residents with bogus services and guarantees of averting foreclosure.

    In lawsuits filed Wednesday against Making All Homes Affordable in Phoenix and La Paz Source in Tucson, authorities allege the companies illegally charged up-front fees, charged for services available for free and misrepresented contracts written in English to customers who could read only Spanish.

    The owner of Making All Homes Affordable, Albert Figueroa, is accused of charging customers $1,900 to lower interest rates and reduce principal loans. But authorities say homeowners got only standardized forms that are available for free on government websites. They also were charged fake sales tax of 9.3 percent, according to the suit.

    The owners of La Paz, Maria Beltran and Francisco Ramos, are accused of operating without a license. Authorities say they promised modifications that were never delivered, which caused some customers to lose their homes.

    In November, Beltran and Ramos shut down La Paz Source and on the same day launched another modification company called La Placita Multi Services, according to the suit.

    Both La Paz and La Placita "deceptively and willfully target the Spanish-speaking community," the attorney general's office said in a statement.

    "The Defendants verbally explain terms of the agreement to consumers, in Spanish, that are in direct contradiction to the written provisions of the contract provided in English," the statement said.

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