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Lawyers' Committee Brings Class Action Suit Against Network of Loan Modification Scammers

November 14, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Contacts:

Stacie B.Royster                                                         Dorsey & Whitney Contact
Director of Communications                                         Kent Schmidt or Lynnda McGlinn
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law               Dorsey & Whitney LLP
202-662-8317                                                            (714) 800-1400
sroyster@lawyerscommittee.org                                    schmidt.kent@dorsey.com
                                                                                  mcglinn.lynnda@dorsey.com

Lawyers' Committee and Dorsey & Whitney LLP File Class Action Lawsuit Targeting Loan Modification Scam Acitvity in Riverside County, California

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) and pro bono counsel Dorsey & Whitney LLP (Dorsey) filed Williams v. Premiere Loan Services, Inc., Case Number RIC1215573, a class action lawsuit in Riverside County, California, against a network of for-profit loan modification companies and associated individuals.  The case is brought by six named plaintiffs, who live in California and Nevada, on behalf of a class alleged to include over 100 homeowners.  The suit alleges that the defendants, who are based in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties in California, defrauded vulnerable homeowners out of tens of thousands of dollars by inducing them to pay thousands of dollars in up-front fees for mortgage loan modification and related legal services that were never provided.  Plaintiffs seek both monetary damages, including recovery of the illegal up-front fees, and injunctive relief to put an end to the deceptive practices of the defendants.  The Lawyers’ Committee and Dorsey are representing the plaintiffs free of charge.  (Click here to view Complaint.) 

The defendants named in the Complaint are Premiere Loan Services, Inc.; Raed Farraj; Nathaniel Genis; DKNZ Marketing & Media, Inc. d/b/a/ National Bailout Application Assistance; Samer J. Farraj; Ernest Auger; George Faraj; Emerge Financial Advisors, LLC; Thomas Duck; and Larry Foster.  Plaintiffs allege that the defendants, in exchange for upfront fees ranging from $1500 to $3000, stated they would work with plaintiffs’ lenders to obtain mortgage loan modifications that would reduce their monthly payments.  In all instances, defendants promised a refund if unable to secure a loan modification.  Defendants often guaranteed they would obtain a loan modification or touted an 80% or 90% success rate.  But instead of securing the loan modifications, the Complaint alleges that the defendants never performed any work on behalf of the plaintiffs.  Rather, the defendants quickly became almost impossible to reach, and even closed at least one of their offices without providing any notice of a new/different location.  The plaintiffs’ claims against the defendants include fraud, breach of contract, elder financial abuse, and failure to translate a contract when negotiated in a language other than English.        

“This case provides yet another example of the continuing impact of loan modification scams on financially distressed homeowners who are trying to save their homes,” said Linda Mullenbach, senior counsel of the Fair Housing and Fair Lending Project of the Lawyers’ Committee.  “We hope this class action, our second class action filed in California and our third lawsuit filed in California related to mortgage modification schemes, will not only provide some measure of relief to the scores of homeowners who—as a result of this scam—have lost thousands of dollars in fees and suffered damage to their credit, or even had their homes foreclosed upon, but will also put an end to the deceptive practices of these defendants and discourage others from engaging in this type of fraudulent activity.”

“Dorsey is very pleased to be playing a part in the Lawyers’ Committee’s important efforts to restore some measure of relief to those in our communities who have been victimized by unscrupulous practices,” said Lynnda McGlinn, Dorsey attorney and pro bono coordinator for the Dorsey & Whitney Southern California office.    

Williams et al. v. Premiere Loan Services, Inc. et al., RIC Case Number 1215573  is the Lawyers’ Committee’s tenth loan modification scam lawsuit filed nationally as part of the Lawyers’ Committee’s work with the Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network (LMSPN).  The LMSPN is a broad coalition that also includes representatives from key governmental agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the offices of numerous state Attorneys General.

Since the launch of the national LMSPN database in February 2010 through October 31, 2012, over 27,000 homeowners nationwide have reported loan modification scams or potential scams that have resulted in losses totaling nearly $65 million. Through the end of October 2012, more than 5,500 of these reports have been submitted by California homeowners, who have reported losses totaling nearly $20 million in fees paid to alleged loan modification scammers.  

Homeowners who believe they have been victims of a scam are encouraged to call 888-995-HOPE (4673) or visit www.preventloanscams.org and click the “Report a Scam!” link. 

Read more about our loan modification scam litigation here:

http://www.lawyerscommittee.org/projects/fair_housing/page?id=0107

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The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2013 as we continue our quest of “Moving America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending, community development, employment; voting; education and environmental justice.  For more information about the LCCRUL, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.

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