Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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OREGON ATTORNEY GENERAL JOHN KROGER USES MORTGAGE FRAUD PROTECTION LAW TO CRACK DOWN ON LOAN MODIFICATIONS

January 7, 2010

The USMAC Law Group is prohibited from doing loan modifications in Oregon and must pay $28,857 under a settlement with the Oregon Department of Justice

Oregon Attorney General John Kroger today announced a settlement that will provide refunds to some Oregon homeowners and prohibit a California law firm from doing further loan modification work in Oregon.

"I will not hesitate to take action against companies that attempt to take advantage of Oregon homeowners in distress," said Attorney General Kroger.

The Oregon Department of Justice investigated allegations that The USMAC Law Group violated state law by collecting advance fees for loan modifications aimed at preventing foreclosure sales. The investigation also focused on allegedly deceptive infomercial advertising for the firm's loan modification program that was broadcast nationally on satellite television as well as allegedly non-compliant contract language.

The 2008 Oregon Mortgage Rescue Fraud Protection Act prohibits loan modification companies from collecting advance fees and using confusing contract language.

The settlement will provide a total of $6,857 in refunds to two Oregon consumers. Nine additional Oregon consumers who contracted with The USMAC Law Group may also be eligible for refunds.

The company also must pay $22,000 to the Oregon Department of Justice and cease doing loan modification work in Oregon. The settlement, in which The USMAC Law Group admits no wrongdoing, was filed in Marion County Circuit Court this week.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Thomas K. Elden handled the case for the Oregon Department of Justice.

Cracking down on unscrupulous loan modification work is part of a comprehensive strategy by the Department of Justice, the Department of Consumer and Business Services, the Oregon Legislature and consumer groups to fight the foreclosure crisis.

"Homeowners should be wary of companies that offer to help modify mortgages for a fee," said Cory Streisinger, director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services. "If you're struggling with your mortgage, nonprofit foreclosure counselors can provide better help – and they won't charge you."

Oregonians can call 1-800-SAFENET to find a counselor in their area.

Foreclosure prevention information can be found at the Department of Consumer and Business Services Web site: http://foreclosurehelp.oregon.gov/

Additional information is available at the Department Justice website: http://www.doj.state.or.us/finfraud/mortgage_fraud.shtml

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.

Contact:

Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 tony.green@doj.state.or.us |
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