CFPB settles foreclosure fraud case with $12M settlement

One of a number of decade-long scams cases in between regulators and fraudsters who targeted distressed home loan customers pertained to an end today with a $12 million settlement, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau revealed.

The arrangement solves the conflict with Consumer First Legal Group and 4 of its lawyers, Thomas G. Macey, Jeffrey J. Aleman, Jason Searns and Harold E. Stafford, who were implicated of having actually charged “millions of dollars in illegal advance fees to financially-distressed homeowners for legal representation the defendants promised but did not provide.”

In its preliminary grievance submitted in 2014, the firm stated the accuseds had tricked customers in risk of foreclosure when supplying mortgage-relief services, in part by gathering loan adjustment payments before they had actually come to arrangements with lending institutions. The wrongdoers likewise advised customers to not call their home loan business and stopped working to provide needed disclosures, the CFPB specified. 

The claims all broke the policy formerly called the home loan support relief services guideline. 

Following an order versus Consumer First Legal and its lawyers, a U.S. district court enforced a fine of almost $60 million in restitution and civil cash charges in 2019. Three of the attorneys were likewise forbidden from carrying out future company including foreclosure or home loan relief, while Stafford was offered a five-year restriction.

That judgment followed The Mortgage Law Group, an insolvent company Macey, Aleman and Searns formerly run, had actually currently been condemned in the fraud.

An appeal by accuseds caused an affirmation of the initial court’s judgments however minimized the quantity of charges to simply under $30 million and reduced the length of a few of the lawyers’ restrictions to 8 years in 2022. A subsequent appeal was submitted, in addition to a cross-appeal from the CFPB.

In today’s resolution, the CFPB, Consumer First Legal and its lawyers accepted dismiss their appeals. The $12 million settlement includes $10.9 million in customer redress and a $1.1 million charge paid into the CFPB’s victims relief fund.

The eight-year restrictions on Macey, Aleman and Searns, in addition to the five-year term versus Stafford stay.

The CFPB submitted the initial suit in 2014 as part of a collaborated effort in between a number of regulators targeting operators of foreclosure relief frauds. The solved case was among 3 from the bureau, while the Federal Trade Commission lodged 6 fits. Meanwhile, lawyers representing 15 various states took 32 actions versus scammers.

In January, the FTC started a claims procedure for scams victims in among its 2014 cases. Over 2,500 customers of Lanier Law or its involved organizations are qualified to gather from the profits of a 2016 judgment versus the accuseds. In the order, among the fraud wrongdoers, Michael Lanier, was likewise disbarred. 

In a comparable FTC case different from the 2014 collaboration, the commission last month stated property owners scammed by the company Consumer Defense would be getting more than a cumulative $1.2 million after courts identified it had actually broken home loan support relief services policies. Consumer Defense had actually guaranteed its customers loan adjustments upon payments of month-to-month charges, however sometimes, the business never ever called the lending institutions.


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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