Maria Elena Alvarez, Maricopa County, Arizona, is the subject of a consent judgment that prohibits her from providing mortgage or other consumer loan modification services to Arizona consumers.
The judgment arose after the Attorney General’s Office filed a consumer fraud action against Alvarez in November, 2013, alleging that she falsely represented to homeowners that she would help them obtain lower mortgage payments on their homes. She represented that, as part of the mortgage modification process, the homeowners needed to send their mortgage payments to her instead of to their lenders and that she – Alvarez – would forward the payments to the lenders.
Arizona Attorney General Horne alleged that rather than forwarding her clients’ mortgage payments to their lenders as she promised, Alvarez instead kept the funds for her own use. The lawsuit alleged that Alvarez’s actions violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, negatively affected her clients’ credit ratings and, in at least one case, caused her client to nearly lose his home after it became scheduled for a Trustee’s Sale. In addition to prohibiting Alvarez from providing mortgage modifications, the judgment also requires her to pay consumer restitution as well as the costs and fees expended by the Attorney General’s Office in investigating her activities and bringing its enforcement action against her.
The Arizona Department of Financial Institutions took a separate enforcement action against Alvarez for engaging in unlicensed mortgage loan originator activities.
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced the judgment.
The consumer fraud matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Cherie Howe. Assistant Attorney General Natalia Garrett represented the Department of Financial Institutions in its action.