Mortgage Modification Scam Hits Connecticut

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With over 11,000 homes in foreclosure in Connecticut and more being added every day, it stands to reason that homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgages might be inclined to turn to one of the plethora of loan modification companies who are currently in business. Most are ethical, law-abiding folks who truly have a desire to help homeowners get back in control of their mortgages.

Some are not.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is warning Connecticut homeowners about one such company, H.O.P.E. Alliance, Inc. He and U.S. Representative Joe Courtney are investigating complaints about the Cheyenne, Wyoming-based company alleging deceptive practices in offering a bogus mortgage rescue deal to desperate and unsuspecting consumers. According to the complaints, H.O.P.E. Alliance is using the similarity of their name to another mortgage modification group, the Hope Now Alliance, to persuade homeowners to use their services. The big difference is that the Hope Now Alliance is a reputable, government-backed non-profit that legitimately helps people with loan modifications. H.O.P.E. Alliance is also requiring its customers to pony up a “good faith payment” of $1,500 to ensure their participation. On the other hand, The Hope Now Alliance is totally free to the consumer and charges no up-front fees for participation.

At least two homeowners have been duped into using the services of the H.O.P.E. Alliance with disastrous results. After paying the $1,500 fee, they were left in the lurch by the company and are now close to losing their homes. AG Blumenthal has now issued a demand to the company for information regarding their services and representations made to customers, their corporate structure and also a list of their clients in Connecticut.

Mortgage and debt reducing services are largely unregulated and Blumenthal is proposing legislation that would force these companies to disclose their fees and services in advance and prohibit advance fees. He advises homeowners to be wary of mortgage modification companies that make promises that sound too good to be true or who require a large fee up front for their services. These kind of snake oil salesmen give the entire industry a bad name and can leave you and your family literally out in the cold. Don’t fall for their underhanded schemes.

If you need mortgage counseling, you can contact the legitimate Hope Now Alliance at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) or at their web site, HOPENOW.com.

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Comments

  1. James Parsa

    Agreed in full.

    It is a disgusting thing indeed that there are businesses that are taking advantage of the already desperate home owners who face a devastating foreclosure. As a practicing law attorney of over 17 years of experience, I have seen my share of good and bad. I do have some advice that will help people avoid scams.

    The number 1 defense against scams or even less beneficial loan modifications is knowledge. Information. I see too many people wandering blindly with no information and that just advertises, juicy sheep to the wolves! There is absolutely no reason why people can’t get good quality information these days. Loan Modifications aren’t rocket science and there are countless books for sale at the library and free information on the web.

    For anyone interested in more information, check out Parsa Law Groups resources.

    http://sanjose.backpage.com/LegalServices/11_things_the_parsa_law_group_wants_you_to_know_about_loan_modification/classifieds/ViewAd?oid=2099060

    http://sacramento.craigslist.org/vnn/1027803368.html

    http://www.prlog.org/10175522-the-parsa-law-group-can-help-you-save-your-home.html

    http://parsa-law-group.typepad.com/

    James M. Parsa
    Attorney at Law
    Parsa Law Group / National Loan Modification Center
    1-800-585-1179
    http://www.NationalLoanModificationCenter.com
    Better Business Bureau Rating:
    http://www.labbb.org/BusinessReport.aspx?CompanyID=100076772

  2. PaulMolinaroEsq

    Words from a Very Outspoken and Opinionated California Litigation Attorney (like there’s any other kind)

    Here in California, our Department of Real Estate website (dub dub dub dot dre dot gov) lists the companies that have DRE “permission” to modify loans… add to this list any licensed California attorney, and that is where you should begin your due diligence search when you seek help in California. Other states probably have similar laws, so check with your own state DRE and state bar.

    My law firm has been getting more and more calls recently from homeowners that were victims of predatory lenders who put them into an unaffordable loan and now fell into the hands of those same people who sold the toxic loans but profess to be saviors… DON’T BE A VICTIM TWICE! What’s that they say, “Fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice, and I’ll sue your butt!”

    Do your homework and THOROUGHLY investigate any firm before hiring them to save your biggest asset and the place you call “home.” Scammers are popping up like dandelions on a freshly mowed lawn in April. They advertise on the Internet, freeway billboards, radio, television, and print media everywhere, not to mention spamming your email box with those third-world widows needing someone to receive three million dollars for them. Make no mistake, in many cases, these “loan modification experts” are the exact same loan officers and mortgage brokers who fleeced homeowners the first time around. After losing their jobs with the crash of the mortgage industry, they have found a new way to make ill-gotten profits from hard-working homeowners through loan modifications.

    In California, with very few exceptions (and attorneys are one exception… no coincidence there… attorneys make the laws), it is against the law for anyone to take money up front for helping a homeowner who is in default. Don’t trust a company that begins its relationship with you by breaking the law.

    HERE’S THE BOTTOM LINE!

    Hire an attorney – and not just any attorney either – one with experience in mortgage law, not just one with real estate law experience but one with experience in both FEDERAL and STATE litigation against mortgage companies, one who doesn’t also do family law, criminal law, admiralty law, and immigration law as well, one who limits the practice to mortgage law (or at least a great majority of it), one who has the experienced staff, training, and know how to take on the big lenders and their top notch lawyers (lenders have attorneys – and darn good ones – check out their counsel on the web – big names top schools, shouldn’t you have a lawyer too?).

    We are not talking about a refund on your broken television here, we are talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars and your HOME – if you don’t think this is the time to hire a highly educated and experienced professional instead of a weekend schooled, almost out of work, broker slash loan officer slash “expensive water in a wine bottle with alleged magical curative powers” salesperson, I don’t know what would make you take things seriously.

    Of course, this is one obnoxious lawyer’s totally biased opinion, but one based on many many distressing calls to my office every day. And, yes, my firm loves taking cases against loan modification companies who have violated laws. This field is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing sections for our mortgage law firm.

    – Paul J. Molinaro, Esq.

  3. Post
    Author
    The Harriman Team

    Paul, we couldn’t have said it any better ourselves, so we won’t even try. Thanks for stopping by and giving us this very important but often overlooked advice!

  4. John Guerrier

    I wonder anyone there could recommend me a top notch lawyer in the state of Connecticut with experience in both federal and state litigation against mortgage companies or big lenders. I am going to be soon (probably end of January 2010) a father of a triplet. I lost my full time job. Currently, I am working 2 part-times for me to make end meets with no benefit but still unable to pay the 8% only interest mortgage payment from countrywide. My Wife is pregnant and can no longer work since November 2009. I am fully qualified for the making home affordable.gov and applied with the lender for home’s modification. Unfortunately, since May 2009 until date, the lender has been refusing categorically to modify or refinance the loan. I provided all the required information Now this week, my pregnant wife with triplet became extremely depressed after she found a note from the lender and its lawyer threating to sue us or put our home in foreclosure. Whoever read this article please help and recommend me an attorney or email me: titik_m2@yahoo.com

  5. Post
    Author
    The Harriman Team

    Hi John, thanks for stopping by. I’m not familiar with any specific attorneys who are handling cases involving mortgage modifications, but I think the Attorney General’s office might be able to help you with this. You can call them at (860) 808-5318, or email them at attorney.general@po.state.ct.us. Good luck, I hope you are able to resolve your situation!

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