TALLAHASSEE, FL – April 09, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that his office has obtained a court order temporarily prohibiting a Jacksonville company from charging up-front fees for foreclosure-related rescue services. According to the order issued by the Duval County Circuit Court, National Foreclosure Counseling Services Corp. is barred from charging homeowners any fee in advance for providing foreclosure-related rescue services. The order was agreed upon by the state and the company.
Members of the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division, working as part of the Attorney General’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force, began investigating National Foreclosure Counseling Services, Corp. in January and filed a lawsuit against the company earlier this month. The investigation revealed National Foreclosure Counseling Services, Corp. allegedly required the consumer to sign a “working agreement” which included an up-front “retainer fee” averaging $1,800, an up-front “processing fee” of $200, and an hourly fee of $125 for future services before signing the consumer on as a client.
The injunction against National Foreclosure Counseling Services Corp., which also operates under the name American Foreclosure Counseling Center, will remain in effect until the resolution of the case. No further hearings are set at this time. Consumers affected by these or other practices may file a complaint online at http://www.myfloridalegal.com or may call the fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226.
The lawsuit, which has also requested consumer restitution, is one of six filed by the Attorney General since the Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act became law on October 1, 2008. The law specifically addresses companies which claim they can save homes from foreclosure by negotiating or modifying the terms of the homeowners’ mortgages. Civil penalties for violating the law can be up to $10,000 per violation or $15,000 if the victim is a senior citizen or disabled individual. The Attorney General’s Office has received thousands of complaints about these companies and their services over the past several months and continues to investigate more than 40 companies for potential violations of the law. More information is available online at http://www.myfloridalegal.com/mortgagefraud.
Contact: Sandi Copes, Phone: (850) 245-0150