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Tropical Storm Fay Winding Down This product covers Southeast New York, Northeast New Jersey, and Southern Connecticut **Tropical Storm Fay Winding Down** NEW INFORMATION --------------- * CHANGES TO WATCHES AND WARNINGS: - Tropical Storm Warning cancelled for New York City boroughs, Eastern Essex, Eastern Union and Hudson Counties. * CURRENT WATCHES AND WARNINGS: - A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Northeastern Suffolk, Northern Nassau, Northwestern Suffolk, Southeastern Suffolk, Southern Fairfield, Southern Middlesex, Southern Nassau, Southern New Haven, Southern New London, Southern Westchester, and Southwestern Suffolk * STORM INFORMATION: - About 20 miles northwest of New York City NY or about 120 miles west of Montauk Point NY - 41.0N 74.2W - Storm Intensity 40 mph - Movement North or 5 degrees at 17 mph SITUATION OVERVIEW ------------------ Tropical Storm Fay, located west of NYC, will continue to weaken as it lifts north of the Tri-state overnight. The remaining threats are for gusty winds tonight and dangerous surf conditions into Saturday. POTENTIAL IMPACTS ----------------- * OTHER COASTAL HAZARDS: Life-threatening rip currents are expected for all people entering the surf zone. Beach flooding and localized dune erosion along the Atlantic Ocean beachfront are possible during the times of high tide tonight through Saturday. Localized minor flooding, inundation of 1 ft or less, along vulnerable coastal and shoreline locales of the Great South Bay of Long Island and Jamaica Bay, Lower NY/NJ Harbor, Coastal CT, Coastal Westchester, and Gardiners Bay during times of high tide tonight. * WIND: Potential impacts from the main wind event are now unfolding across. Remain well sheltered from hazardous wind having limited impacts. If realized, these impacts include: - Unsecured lightweight objects blown about. - A few large tree limbs broken off. A few trees shallow rooted trees uprooted. Some roadway signs blown over. - A few roads impassable from debris, particularly within urban or heavily wooded places. Hazardous driving conditions on bridges and other elevated roadways. - Scattered power and communications outages. Elsewhere across Southeast New York, Northeast New Jersey, and Southern Connecticut, little to no impact is anticipated.

AG Schneiderman Sues Long Island & Florida Companies for Defrauding Homeowners in Mortgage Rescue Scheme

LongIsland.com

Court Issues Restraining Order Against Firms as Lawsuit Seeks Restitution for Consumers

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New York, NY - August 27, 2014 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court against four interrelated companies and their principals for operating a fraudulent loan modification scam. The lawsuits were filed against Home Affordable Direct, Inc. (Farmingdale, NY), Home Affordable Solutions, Inc. (Farmingdale, NY), JR Holding Group Corp (Babylon, NY), Clear Solutions and Settlements, Inc. (Tampa, FL) and their principals, Javier Gutierrez and Shadi Soumekh.  The companies and their principals are alleged to prey upon financially vulnerable consumers by claiming they can provide substantial relief from unaffordable mortgage payments through loan modifications and other forms of foreclosure prevention.  The firms allegedly collect illegal advance fees and routinely fail to deliver on their promises. The lawsuit seeks to stop the illegal practices, provide restitution and damages to consumers, obtain disgorgement of profits, as well as penalties and costs.   
 
“There has to be one set of rules for everyone, no matter how rich or powerful, and that is why our office has aggressively cracked down on those who prey upon vulnerable consumers at risk of losing their home,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “I am proud to stand up for middle class New Yorkers against predatory scammers seeking to exploit those still reeling from the housing crisis.”
 
Earlier today the Attorney General’s office secured a temporary restraining order barring the companies from collecting illegal advance fees from homeowners before they accept and execute a loan modification agreement and advertising and operating their business without providing the disclosures required by the federal Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule.  The court also placed a freeze on company bank accounts.  
 
Attorney General Schneiderman’s lawsuit alleges that the companies engaged in fraudulent and illegal practices in the marketing and operation of their foreclosure rescue and loan modification business involving consumers from New York and outside the state. Through frequent radio advertisements and their website, they falsely represent that they are affiliated with the United States Treasury Department’s Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), that they have the ability to “pre-qualify” homeowners for a modification under HAMP and can determine whether a homeowner qualifies for HAMP during a single phone call. These advertisements lacked critical disclosures required by law that are designed to protect consumers, such as informing the consumer that Home Affordable Direct is not associated with the government, that their services are not approved by the government or the consumer’s lender, and that the consumer’s lender may not agree to modify the consumer’s mortgage loan even if the consumer uses Home Affordable Direct.  
 
Company salespersons furthered the fraud by falsely representing to homeowners that they could get their mortgage servicing company to reduce the principal balance of their mortgage loan to the value of their home or that they would be able to obtain a specific reduction in their monthly mortgage payment. The companies failed to provide required disclosures that would have alerted consumers to be wary of these misleading claims, particularly the disclosure that the consumer can stop doing business with the companies at any time and that they do not have to pay anything to the company if they reject the offer of mortgage assistance obtained from the consumer’s lender or servicer. The companies collected hefty upfront fees from homeowners, ranging from $1,500 to over $11,000, in violation of the law. The companies usually refused to refund the illegal advance fees once consumers realized they were victims of a scam.
 
If you were a victim of Home Affordable Direct or any of its affiliated companies or if you believe you were a victim of another mortgage fraud, please file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. Complaint forms are available here.  You may also call the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-771-7755.
 
Free help to homeowners is available through the Home Owner Protection Program (“HOPP”), which uses funds from the National Mortgage Settlement to fund legal services and housing counseling across New York to provide foreclosure prevention services.  Consumers can call 855-HOME-456 for help. Attorney General Schneiderman’s program funds roughly 90 organizations across the state, and HOPP has served a combined total of nearly 30,000 families since its launch in October of 2012.
 
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 is Karla G. Sanchez.
 
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. Along with the FTC and CFPB, attorneys general from the following states participated in the 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 Washington Department of Financial Institutions.