A judge in Hamilton County has shut down a foreclosure rescue scam based in Cincinnati and levied $300,000 in damages and civil penalties, according to the Ohio attorney general's office.
Foreclosure Solutions was just one of about a dozen companies accused of taking advance payments from homeowners facing foreclosure, then doing little or nothing to help them lower their mortgage payments.
Just last month, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit making similar claims against a firm operating out of California.
"This individual takes thousands of dollars up front but fails to provide promised services," DeWine said. "He also changes his business names regularly so he can keep operating in the same pattern without consumers catching on."
Foreclosure and the threat of foreclosure continue to be problems faced by Seneca County residents. DeWine offers the following advice for consumers who are worried about making their house payments:
Do not pay upfront fees for help avoiding foreclosure or obtaining mortgage relief. By law, companies are prohibited from charging and accepting fees for mortgage assistance relief services until consumers receive and accept a loan modification offer from their lenders.
Research businesses before giving them any money or information. Check to see whether consumers have filed complaints with the Ohio attorney general's office and check a company's reputation with the Better Business Bureau.
Do not use loan modification businesses that charge upfront fees. Do contact Save the Dream Ohio - at (888) 404-4674 or www.savethedream.ohio.gov - for free foreclosure assistance.