TALLAHASSEE, FL – February 4, 2010 – (RealEstateRama) — Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against a California company providing loan modification services to homeowners facing foreclosure. According to the lawsuit filed today in Orange County, 21st Century Legal Services, Inc. allegedly charges consumers up-front fees in violation of Florida’s Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act.
According to the Attorney General’s lawsuit, the corporation solicited loan modification services to Florida homeowners by telephone, mail and internet marketing. An investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division revealed that 21st Century Legal Services charges an up-front fee as high as $2,500 to homeowners seeking loan modification services. Additionally, consumers have complained that the company has not performed the promised services and that consumers are unable to get refunds.
The complaint alleges that, after initial contact is made with a homeowner, the company arranges for a “company representative” to visit the consumer at home. These representatives are, in fact, local notaries hired by the company to travel to the consumer’s home and execute the necessary sales agreements. The lawsuit states that the company instructed the notaries not to provide consumers with a copy of the written agreements, in direct violation of Florida law.
Other states have sued 21st Century Legal Services, and the FBI raided several of the company’s California offices in mid-September.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit requests full restitution for affected homeowners and civil penalties of up to $15,000 per violation. The Attorney General’s Office is also seeking a court order permanently prohibiting 21st Century Legal Services from further violations of Florida law.
The Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division continues to review the practices of many companies providing foreclosure-related rescue services to ensure that they are in compliance with Florida law. More information about the Attorney General’s efforts in combating mortgage fraud, along with helpful information for homeowners in distress, can be found at http://www.myfloridalegal.com/mortgagefraud. Consumers affected by these or other practices may file a complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website at http://www.myfloridalegal.com or calling the fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226.
A copy of the lawsuit is available online at: http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/KGRG-82CN22/$file/21stCenturyComplaint.pdf
Phone: (850) 245-0150