TALLAHASSEE, FL – March 18, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against a Central Florida company for allegedly charging up-front fees for loan modification services to homeowners facing foreclosure. According to the lawsuit, Winberg, Lopez, & Rodriguez Company, also known as Wineberg, Lopez & Rodriguez, P.A., and its owners are in violation of Florida’s new Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention law. The company has offices in Orlando, Winter Garden and St Petersburg and advertises using numerous websites.
An investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division revealed that Winberg, Lopez, & Rodriguez allegedly charged as much as $1,995 up-front to homeowners seeking loan modification services related to foreclosures. The lawsuit also alleges other deceptive and unfair trade practices including issues relating to the company’s advertising practices. The Attorney General’s Office has received several complaints about the company.
The lawsuit seeks, restitution on behalf of injured consumers, civil penalties of $10,000 for each violation, a permanent injunction prohibiting Winberg, Lopez, & Rodriguez Company from charging up-front fees, and reimbursement for attorney’s fees and costs related to the investigation. In addition to the lawsuit, Attorney General McCollum has filed a motion seeking to temporarily prohibit Winberg, Lopez, & Rodriguez Company from charging up-front fees while the lawsuit is addressed in court.
The Attorney General continues to review the practices of many companies providing foreclosure-related rescue services to ensure that they are in compliance with the new law. Homeowners should exercise caution when seeking help to prevent mortgage foreclosure. More helpful hints for homeowners can be found at http://www.myfloridalegal.com/NewsBrie.nsf/OnlineAlerts/3FA51F0C06AC82B585257419006382F6. Consumers affected by these or other practices may file a complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website at www.myfloridalegal.com< or calling the fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226.
A copy of the lawsuit is available online at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MRAY-7Q8NLV/$file/WL&RComplaint.pdf