Green Tree Financial Group, Save Point Financial, Rescue Firm, Hardship Solutions, and Loan Retention Firm were named as defendants in a lawsuit filed by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants, the operators of a California-based loan modification scheme, took thousands of dollars from Ohioans while falsely promising to help them avoid foreclosure. They are accused of violating Ohio’s consumer protection laws. The lawsuit also seeks restitution for consumers, an end to any violations of state law, and civil penalties.
The Ohio Attorney General’s Office asserts that it is aware of at least 18 Ohio consumers who lost money to this operation, and the average reported loss was more than $2,000. “These operators took thousands of dollars from consumers and gave them nothing in return,” Attorney General DeWine said. “They also used multiple business names, which made it harder for consumers to detect the scheme. We won’t tolerate those who take advantage of Ohio families, and we warn consumers not to trust anyone who demands thousands of dollars up front for help avoiding foreclosure.” According to an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the companies advertised online and by phone offering to help consumers obtain loan modifications to avoid foreclosure. They took advance payments of $995 to $5,495 but failed to obtain loan modifications and failed to provide refunds. In some instances, the companies allegedly claimed they could help consumers obtain federal grants to help with their mortgage payments, but they failed to obtain the grants. In other instances, they told consumers their mortgage loans had been modified when they had not. Consumers sometimes were left in a worse financial position after doing business with the companies. The Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, accuses Mehdi Moarefian and Serj Geutssoyan (operators of the scheme) of violating Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and Debt Adjuster’s Act. Consumers who are worried about foreclosure or the cost of their monthly mortgage payments should not pay upfront fees for mortgage relief services. Companies are not permitted to collect fees for such services until consumers receive and accept a loan modification offer from their lenders. Ohio Consumers who suspect an unfair business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.