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News Now

CU System
Loan Lies pinpoints 189 mortgage-modification scams
WASHINGTON (7/17/09)--A coordinated national law enforcement effort aimed at ending mortgage modification scams was announced Tuesday by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and California Attorney General Jerry Brown. Operation Loan Lies involves 189 actions by 25 federal and state agencies against companies that deceptively marketed foreclosure rescue and mortgage modification services. The scams, which affected consumers throughout the nation, originated in southern California. The FTC announced four new lawsuits, bringing the number of such cases filed to since April. Attorneys general from 23 states and other agencies participating in Operation Loan Lies are initiating action against 178 companies engaged in the mortgage deceptions. The agency also announced a settlement in one lawsuit filed in November. According to the lawsuits, defendants allegedly made false claims that they would either obtain a mortgage loan modification or stop a foreclosure, or both. Some claimed they would give refunds if they failed. The companies would charge at least one month's mortgage payment in advance, but did little or nothing to get a modification or stop foreclosure, and reneged on their promise of a refund. The FTC also is distributing a three-and-a-half-minute video of scammers' victims sharing lessons from their experiences to more than 5,000 housing counseling and consumer protection organizations throughout the country. The "Real People. Real Stories." video also is posted on FTC's website and on YouTube.
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