April 7, 2009
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster today filed suit against a California company that defrauded Missourians looking for help avoiding mortgage foreclosure. Koster said the company, US Foreclosure Relief, took money from victims but did not provide any help.
"Unfortunately, these tough economic times have brought out opportunists who prey on people at some of their most desperate and vulnerable moments," Koster said. "People facing the loss of a home may feel that they have no other choice but to turn to these fraudulent companies. The Attorney General's Office intends to stop them from doing business in Missouri," Koster added.
Attorney General Koster said US Foreclosure Relief advertised that they would work with a homeowner's lender to stop further foreclosure proceedings. However, the Attorney General's office found the company would take customers' money, provide no services, and subsequently refuse to respond to consumers who wanted to complain or get their money back.
The suit, filed in Kansas City, seeks an injunction to stop the company from continuing to defraud consumers as well as restitution and penalties.
In most instances, US Foreclosure Relief charged homeowners a fee of $1,850 for its services, along with a processing fee of $500. The company demanded payment upfront, in violation of Missouri law. Missouri law is clear that payment may not be charged or collected until the foreclosure consultant service is performed.
"People need to be very cautious when considering turning to foreclosure consultants," Koster said. "In fact, in most cases, people are better off working directly with their lenders."
Attorney General Koster urged consumers who have been the victims of fraudulent mortgage-relief companies, or who are concerned about the practices of their lender, to contact his consumer hotline at 800-392-8222 or to go online at www.ago.mo.gov.