New York, NY - July 23, 2014 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that he has served a notice of intent to bring litigation against Home Affordable Direct, Inc., JR Holding Group Corp and Javier Gutierrez for operating a fraudulent mortgage rescue and loan modification scheme that scammed consumers into paying large upfront fees but failed to fulfill promises to help homeowners stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure. This case is part of a joint federal-state sweep by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and 15 states targeting scam operations that prey on financially struggling homeowners and those facing foreclosure.
“As many New Yorkers continue to recover from the housing crisis, our office will hold those accountable who prey on families struggling to stay in their homes,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “The law applies to everyone equally, no matter how rich or powerful, and this joint effort will help protect vulnerable New York homeowners from unscrupulous scammers and predatory businesses.”
Mortgage rescue scams target vulnerable homeowners and, for an upfront fee, promise to save their homes by negotiating lower mortgage payments or principal reductions with the homeowners’ mortgage servicers or lenders. After collecting upfront fees, these scam operations fail to provide the services promised, placing their victims at even greater risk of foreclosure.
Attorney General Schneiderman served Home Affordable Direct, Inc., JR Holding Group Corp and Javier Gutierrez with a notice of intent to bring litigation for engaging in widespread fraud and illegality in the marketing and operation of their foreclosure rescue and loan modification business. Through radio advertisements, atheir website and live sales pitches, Gutierrez and his two companies deceptively induced consumers to pay substantial illegal upfront fees by making multiple misrepresentations and then failed to deliver on those promises.
In addition to holding accountable those who precipitated and preyed upon victims of the housing crisis, Attorney General Schneiderman’s Office also launched the Homeowner Protection Program (HOPP), which funds roughly 90 organizations across the state to assist at-risk homeowners. These organizations have served a combined total of nearly 30,000 families since HOPP launched in October 2012 by providing counseling and support for those at risk of foreclosure. Consumers can call 855-HOME-456 to obtain assistance through HOPP.
This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Adam H. Cohen, Deputy Bureau Chief Laura J. Levine and Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia in the Bureau of Consumers Frauds and Protection, and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Karla G. Sanchez.
Along with the FTC and CFPB, attorneys general from the following states participated in today’s sweep: Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Washington and Wisconsin. Also participating is the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation and the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions.