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Brown to Warn Consumers About Mortgage Loan Scams at San Fernando Valley Townhall
San Fernando Valley – On Thursday, September 10, 2009 at approximately 3:30 p.m., Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. will be the guest speaker at a consumer protection townhall in Sylmar, where he will warn Southern California residents about the proliferation of “devious mortgage schemes” and offer tips to avoid them. Since 2007, Sylmar has experienced the highest number of foreclosures in the City of Los Angeles.
“Following the housing collapse, scammers and rip off artists have come up with dozens of devious mortgage schemes to take advantage of desperate homeowners,” Brown said. “Homeowners must arm themselves with information and be wary of loan consultants who charge thousands of dollars in upfront fees and deliver nothing in return.”
Brown will be a guest speaker at a community hearing on foreclosure prevention organized by Los Angeles City Council Jobs and Business Development Committee Chairman Richard Alarcon. The townhall is free and open to the public.
WHAT: Town hall hearing on consumer protection. Topics include: mortgage fraud, foreclosure prevention, false advertising, student loans and credit card issues.
WHO: Attorney General Jerry Brown as guest speaker, and
Los Angeles City Council Jobs and Business Development Committee Chairman Richard Alarcon.
WHEN: Thursday, September 10th
3:00 PM- 5:00 PM
WHERE: Los Angeles Mission College
13356 Eldridge Ave. Sylmar, CA. 91342
BROWN’S RECENT ACTIONS TO STOP MORTGAGE FRAUD:
• Brown partnered with the California Department of Real Estate and the State Bar of California to combat loan modification and foreclosure fraud across the state.
• Brown has sent letters directing 386 mortgage foreclosure consultants to register with his office and post $100,000 bond, or demonstrate why they are not required to. If the consultants are required to register and have failed to do so, they are subject to criminal penalties of up to a year in jail and fines ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 per violation.
• Brown sent letters demanding that 27 loan consultants substantiate suspect claims made on the internet and in direct mail advertising.
• As part of a nationwide sweep last month, Brown filed suits against 21 individuals and 14 companies who ripped off thousands of homeowners seeking mortgage relief. In total, Brown has sought court orders to shut down 32 companies and has brought criminal charges and obtained lengthy prison sentences for deceptive loan modification consultants.
• Brown unveiled a new website ( http://ag.ca.gov/loanmod) that provides homeowners tips to avoid loan modification fraud, allows them to determine if a company is registered with his office and makes it easier to file complaints.
5 Tips to Avoid Being Scammed
1. Don't pay up-front fees. Foreclosure consultants are prohibited by law from collecting money before services are performed.
2. Don't ignore letters from your lender or loan servicer. Responding to those letters is your best bet for saving your house.
3. Don't transfer title or sell your house to a 'foreclosure rescuer.' Beware! This is a scam to convince homeowners they can stay in the home as renters and buy their home back later. It might also be part of a fraudulent bankruptcy filing. Either way, a scammer can then evict the victim and take the home.
4. Don't pay your mortgage payments to anyone other than your lender or loan servicer. Mortgage consultants often keep the money for themselves.
5. Never sign any documents without reading them first. Many homeowners think that they are signing documents for a loan modification or for a new loan to pay off the mortgage they are behind on. Later, they discover that they actually transferred ownership of their home to someone who is now trying to evict them.