Blog Enforcement Watch June 23, 2015

Maryland Attorney General Settles with Mortgage and Credit Counseling Companies Over Claims of False Representations and Illegal Fees

On June 22, 2015, the Maryland Attorney General announced a settlement with two regional mortgage and credit consulting companies and their sole owner over claims the companies made false representations regarding their ability to obtain mortgage approval for consumers, solicited illegal advance fees, and engaged in credit counseling without the required license. The companies allegedly represented that they could obtain mortgage loan approvals for all consumers that met certain eligibility requirements and collected retainer fees before obtaining the mortgage loans. The companies also allegedly provided credit repair counseling services and in some cases promised they could obtain modifications of consumer loans. According to the Maryland Attorney General, many consumers did not receive the promised mortgage loan approvals or other consumer loan modifications and the companies did not refund the retainer. The companies agreed to pay $45,000 in restitution to affected consumers and $5,000 in costs to the Maryland Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office. In addition, the companies agreed to pay a penalty of $230,000 if they fail to comply with any of the terms of the settlement agreement. The principals of the companies are banned from providing credit counseling or other loan assistance for a period of two years.