Oct. 12, 2012 – The Federal Trade Commission announced this week that it has filed three lawsuits in a U.S. District Court against companies that allegedly duped struggling homeowners with mortgage rescue scams.
In the lawsuits, the FTC says that the companies violated federal law by claiming a false affiliation with the government and promoting a mortgage rate reduction negotiation service. The deceived homeowners were tricked into giving the companies millions of dollars, according to the FTC.
In announcing the suits on Oct. 9, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said that the FTC is taking "a hard line against con artists who are seeking their next victim." The cases, he said, are part of the federal government’s Distressed Homeowner Initiative, which is aimed at stopping predatory foreclosure rescue, mortgage modification, short sales, and bankruptcy schemes that target struggling homeowners.
So far, the FTC has brought more than 40 cases against companies that have allegedly deceived homeowners with mortgage relief schemes. The FTC says its actions have helped tens of thousands of scam victims, and have prevented tens of thousands more from becoming victims.
On Wednesday, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network reported a rise in the number of foreclosure-related suspicious activity reports in the first half of 2012, which puts the current pace on track to exceed the 2011 total.