Six defendants have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they participated in a fraudulent mortgage modification and foreclosure relief scheme. The settlement orders require five defendants to pay back millions in ill-gotten gains, and permanently ban all six from selling any mortgage assistance or debt relief products. The settlements with the U.S. Homeowners Relief defendants are part of the agency’s ongoing crackdown on frauds targeting consumers in financial distress.
Acording to the complaint filed last year by the FTC, the defendants touted a “Government Mortgage Relief Program” that would supposedly reduce mortgage payments as part of the “Obama Act” or the “federal stimulus program,” even though the defendants had no affiliation with the government. Claiming a 90 percent or higher success rate, they charged consumers up to $4,250 and promised to reduce their mortgage payments, their interest rates, and sometimes even their principal loan amounts. The FTC also alleged that although the defendants promised full refunds if they were unsuccessful, once consumers paid the fee, they received nothing, did not get refunds, and the defendants did not respond to their calls or e-mails. According to the complaint, the defendants disconnected their telephones and changed the name of their business while continuing to make promises and take money from other consumers.
The defendants claimed to have established relationships with lenders that enabled them
to obtain loan modifications on favorable terms, according to the FTC complaint. In mailers that appeared to be tailored to individual recipients, the defendants allegedly led consumers to believe that they could receive a loan modification by stating that the consumers had been “PRE-SELECTED” because their loan situation met the defendants’ criteria, and by actually specifying the consumers’ new 30-year fixed payment.
The settlement order against Aminullah Sarpas and New Life Solutions Inc. imposes a $3.9 million judgment; the order against Damon Grant Carriger, DLD Consulting, LLC, and D.G.C. Consulting, Inc. imposes a judgment of $2.1 million. The settlement order against Macie Majeco Bain imposes a $3.6 million judgment that is suspended. All six defendants are banned from providing debt relief and mortgage assistance services, prohibited from making misrepresentations about other products and services, required to back up any claims they make about the benefits, performance, and efficacy of financial products, and required to comply with the Telemarketing Sales Rule.
Litigation continues against Paul Bain, and defaulting corporate defendants U.S. Homeowners Relief, Inc., Waypoint Law Group, Inc., and American Lending Review, Inc.
The Commission has advice for consumers about mortgage, foreclosure rescue, and debt settlement scams. For more information see: Your Home.
The Commission voted 4-0 to approve the proposed consent orders against Aminullah
Sarpas and New Life Solutions, Inc.; and Damon Grant Carriger, DLD Consulting, LLC, and D.G.C. Consulting, Inc. The third proposed consent order, against Macie Majeco Bain, was approved 3-1 with Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch dissenting. The proposed consent orders were approved by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on December 1, 2011 (Aminullah Sarpas and New Life Solutions, Inc.; and Macie Majeco Bain;) and December 6, 2011 (Damon Grant Carriger, DLD Consulting, LLC, and D.G.C. Consulting, Inc.).
NOTE: Consent orders are for settlement purposes only and do not constitute an admission by the defendant that the law has been violated. Consent orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.