Consumer Finance Insights
June 8, 2018

FTC Settles With Defendant Involved in Mortgage Relief Scheme for $15.5 Million

On June 7, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement and stipulated order for permanent injunction​ ​arising from a lawsuit brought by the FTC concerning allegedly illegal mortgage relief practices.

The FTC initiated an action against several defendants in January 2018 alleging violations of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, and the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule, 12 C.F.R. Part 1015.  According to the FTC, the defendants operated a number of companies that would claim to provide mortgage relief to homeowners to prevent foreclosure.  Allegedly, the companies, through unlawful advertising practices, implied that they were associated with the federal government and claimed to have relationships with certain lenders to assist homeowners.  The company would charge thousands of dollars in upfront fees and tell consumers to stop making payments to their lenders, which in some cases led the homeowners into foreclosure.

The settlement order against one of the defendants imposes $15,577,655.63 in monetary relief, jointly and severally with any other defendants adjudged liable.  The payment was suspended due to the defendant’s financial condition.  In addition, the order bans the defendant from advertising, marketing, or selling any secured or unsecured debt relief product or service, prohibits the defendant from misrepresenting financial-related or other products and services, and enjoins the defendant from making unsubstantiated claims.  The enforcement action against the other defendants remains pending.

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