Cuomo Sues National Modification Service and Infinity Mitigation Services for Illegally Charging Homeowners for Loan Modification Services That Were Not Performed

NEW YORK, NY (March 25, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today filed lawsuits against two loan modification companies for engaging in nationwide foreclosure rescue scams. The lawsuits were filed against National Modification Service (“National Modification”) and its founder Joseph Romano, and Infinity Mitigation Corporation, Infinity Funding Group (“Infinity”), and their owner and principal Neil Singer. The companies and their owners prey on homeowners facing foreclosure by claiming that they can save their homes, but often fail to provide the services promised. National Modification is based in Farmingdale, New York and Infinity is based in Bohemia, New York.

“As New Yorkers and others across the country fight to stay afloat in these tough times, we continue to see dishonest companies preying on vulnerable homeowners,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “These companies pretend to be reaching out a helping hand, but instead they push consumers further down into debt and, in some cases, into foreclosure.”

The foreclosure crisis has claimed the homes of thousands of New Yorkers across the state. In January 2010 alone, there were 4,569 foreclosed properties in New York, and 1 in every 1,737 housing units had received notice of foreclosure. New York City and Long Island led the state with the most foreclosure filings per county in January 2010: Suffolk (765); Kings (693); Queens (616); Nassau (521); Westchester (342). The Attorney General’s ongoing investigations have shown that thousands of New Yorkers and homeowners throughout the country have been affected by foreclosure rescue scams.

The lawsuits against National Modification and Infinity allege that the companies charged homeowners up-front fees of several thousand dollars, a violation of New York law. In addition, the companies used misleading advertising and made false representations to customers, including unsubstantiated claims of over a 90% success rate and guarantees that they would be able to convert an adjustable-rate mortgage to a lower, fixed-rate mortgage. The lawsuits also allege that the companies promised a 100% money-back guarantee but then failed to provide refunds to customers that they scammed, often even refusing to answer the customers’ calls.

The Attorney General’s lawsuits against National Modification and Infinity seek to shut down the companies and provide restitution and damages to customers. The lawsuits also aim to prevent both National Modification and Infinity and their owners from ever providing foreclosure rescue services. In addition, the lawsuit seeks penalties and costs from the companies and their principals. Collectively, the companies may be subject to penalties of $1 million and potentially much more.

Today, Attorney General Cuomo also announced settlement agreements with two companies, ABM Mitigation Corporation (“ABM”), a Ronkonkoma-based loan modification business, and Raymond, Louis & Fitch (“RLF”), a Florida-based loan modification company doing business in New York. The companies jointly have hundreds of New York customers. As part of the settlements, both companies will refund fees to all customers who have not obtained a loan modification. ABM will shut down their practices nationwide and RLF will stop doing business in New York State.

Both companies illegally charged customers thousands of dollars in up-front fees and failed to provide their customers with contracts as required by law. ABM, which is now prevented from obtaining any new clients, lured customers by misrepresenting their qualifications, falsely claiming that they were accredited, and falsely advertising a 100% success rate. RLF used fabricated testimonials, falsely represented that consumers had been selected for special government programs, and falsely claimed consumers’ homes qualified for fabricated loan modification programs.

Today’s announcement is part of Cuomo’s ongoing investigation into the so-called “foreclosure rescue” industry, targeting companies across the country that claim to offer loan modification services. As part of his investigation, Cuomo has issued more than 15 subpoenas to loan modification companies. In August 2009, he sued Amerimod, one of the largest loan modification companies in the country, for allegedly perpetrating a widespread scheme to defraud thousands of homeowners.

Lionel Ouellette, Executive Director of CHANGER, a non-profit organization assisting homeowners in gaining economic rights, said, “We applaud Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for fighting this scourge of predatory business practices that continue to plague New Yorkers. Homeowners facing the risk of foreclosure are desperate for help to stay in their homes, making them vulnerable to scams. Moreover, these victims are almost by definition in financial straits, and cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars in illegal up-front fees that companies cannot charge them as a matter of law. These cases help send a message to the hundreds of companies out there that the Attorney General will enforce these important laws to protect New Yorkers.”

Meghan Faux, Director of the Foreclosure Prevention Project at South Brooklyn Legal Services, said, “We commend Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for investigating these companies who are targeting hardworking families and costing them their homes. A person’s home is often their most precious possession, and many of these companies that prey on vulnerable homeowners often do devastating damage to these families, including the destruction of their credit and loss of their home. The Attorney General’s effort to put a stop to these practices and provide relief to victims is invaluable to homeowners and the communities where they live.”

Under the law in New York, foreclosure rescue companies are required to provide clients with contracts, let financially vulnerable homeowners know that there are non-profit counselors that can help them for free, and refrain from charging up-front fees.

Consumers who are unable to make their mortgage payments should call their lender immediately to discuss the available alternatives to foreclosure. Many lenders offer foreclosure avoidance programs and have pledged publicly to assist distressed borrowers. To find counselors approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in your local area, call 800-569-4287 or visit www.hud.gov. To obtain foreclosure assistance or contact your mortgage lender, call the Federal Housing Administration at 800-CALL-FHA or visit www.fha.gov.

Consumers who believe they are being targeted or defrauded by a foreclosure rescue company that may be engaging in unlawful conduct are urged to contact the Attorney General’s Office at 800-771-7755 or visit the Attorney General’s new Web site www.nyprotectyourhome.com.

The National Modification, Infinity, and ABM matters are being handled by Bureau Chief for Civil Rights Alphonso B. David and Counsel for Civil Rights Spencer Freedman. The Raymond, Louis & Fitch matter is being handled by Consumer Frauds Bureau Chief Joy Feigenbaum and Deputy Bureau Chief Jeffrey K. Powell.

Comments

  1. 11 companies not named..was nationwide credit counseling, llc one of them?

    ReplyDelete

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