Court Enters Judgment up against the Hoffman Law Group and Affiliates for Deceiving Consumers and Collecting prohibited Advance Fees; Individuals Involved to Auction Jewelry, Watches to cover Redress
WASHINGTON, D.C. вЂ” Today, the buyer Financial Protection Bureau additionally the State of Florida had been awarded a judgment that is final the Hoffman Law Group and business affiliates accused of utilizing misleading advertising techniques and scamming troubled home owners into having to pay unlawful advance costs. Working together, five organizations tricked customers into spending vast amounts in illegal upfront costs to become listed on frivolous legal actions that the businesses falsely stated would stress banking institutions to change their loans or provide foreclosure relief. The court discovered the organization defendants responsible for $11,730,579 вЂ“ the total number of unlawful charges compensated by customers вЂ“ and ordered them to cover a ten dollars million penalty that is civil as well as charges into the State of Florida.
вЂњThese businesses preyed on susceptible customers who have been attempting to save your self their domiciles from property foreclosure,вЂќ said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. вЂњThe false claims produced by these businesses lured struggling home owners into scams that generated greater pecuniary hardship. We have been trying to protect customers from illegal predatory methods by keeping actors that are bad because of their actions.вЂќ
вЂњScamming property owners concerned about losing their domiciles is not just unlawful, it really is despicable, and as a result of the great work of my customer security unit and also the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, these defendants will probably pay for preying on Florida homeowners facing foreclosure,вЂќ said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. вЂњForeclosure rescue scammers cannot evade the law by hiding behind an attorney. It’s discouraging that we now have attorneys available to you that may allow their licenses to be utilized by shady businesses to a target people facing foreclosure.вЂќ
The lawsuit called Hoffman Law Group (previously Residential Litigation Group), its operators, Michael Harper, Benn Willcox, and lawyer Marc Hoffman, and its particular companies that are affiliated Nationwide Management possibilities, Legal Intake possibilities, File Intake possibilities, and BM advertising Group, all situated in North Palm Beach, Fla. The Hoffman Law Group had been an attorney put up to provide the look that customers in financial distress having to change their home loans or conserve their houses from property property foreclosure would get professional assistance from lawyers. The relevant businesses, that have been run by Harper and Willcox, existed to advertise and help the scheme.
In July 2014, the Bureau and Florida desired and obtained a short-term restraining purchase and a secured item freeze up against the organizations and Harper, Willcox and Hoffman, together with court ordered a receiver to take control of all assets moving through the scam that is alleged.
The lawsuit charged Hoffman Law Group, its companies that are affiliated as well as the specific defendants with breaking Regulation O, previously referred to as the home loan Assistance Relief Services (MARS) guideline, and Florida state legislation. Regulation O forbids asking advance costs for home loan modification solutions, making misrepresentations about loan mod solutions, also it requires that customers be provided with particular disclosures.
The defendantsвЂ™ violations included:
The last judgment entered because of the court included:
- Redress to victims: The receiver, whom annexed the business defendantsвЂ™ operations and froze assets belonging to your business and associated individuals, can pay $655,737вЂ”the whole level of the property, at the time of March 30, 2015, minus administrative costs and funds necessary to pursue extra recoveriesвЂ”to the Bureau to be utilized for redress for victims. Even though court discovered the Hoffman Law Group as well as its business affiliates accountable for $11,730,579вЂ”the complete level of unlawful costs compensated by around 2,000 consumersвЂ”it that is affected the total amount for the judgment beyond the total amount into the receivership property as uncollectable.
- Auctioning of personal results: into the judgments that are stipulated Harper, Willcox and Hoffman, the court ordered the receiver to auction specific individual possessions of value, including eleven watches, sixteen items of precious precious jewelry, two handguns, some type of computer, and a tv, the profits that would be compensated towards the receivership property.
- Spend $16 million in civil and state charges for breaking regulations: the organization defendants have to spend a ten dollars million civil penalty for the violations of Regulation O and a $6 million state penalty for breach associated with Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade procedures Act, even though receivership property (to that the businesses have actually relinquished all of their funds) will not now have sufficient funds to cover those charges. The person defendants had been additionally needed to spend charges beneath the stipulated judgment.
- Stop all continuing business operations: the firms have now been completely dissolved and may no further run or conduct business of any sort. The individual defendants are forever prohibited from, among other items, marketing or offering any home loan help relief product or service or any credit card debt relief service or product. In addition, Hoffman relinquished their license to apply legislation into the continuing state of Florida.
The court judgment can be obtained at:
The orders that are individual offered at:
The CFPBвЂ™s problem is present at: