The Federal Trade Commission is sending 2,155 checks totaling more than $164,000 to consumers who were harmed by a bogus mortgage relief scam that operated under the names Brookstone Law and Advantis Law.
Consumers who receive checks should cash them within 90 days, as indicated on the check. Recipients who have questions about their refund, or who didn’t receive a check and believe they may be eligible for a refund, should call the refund administrator, JND Legal Administration, at 855-606-0653. The Commission never requires people to pay money or provide account information to get a refund.
The FTC sued Brookstone and the attorneys who operated it in 2016 for falsely telling homeowners that they could join so-called “mass joinder” lawsuits against their lenders that would save them from foreclosure and provide additional financial awards. The court ruled in 2017 that the defendants “made numerous false and/or misleading material statements to consumers,” including falsely claiming that homeowners could get “at least $75,000” or their homes “free and clear” through these so-called mass joinder lawsuits. The defendants charged consumers $895 or more for a “legal analysis” and thousands of dollars in recurring legal fees. Although the defendants filed some lawsuits, they failed to file all promised lawsuits and never won any of the lawsuits.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that the Commission lacks authority under Section 13(b) to seek monetary relief in federal court going forward. The money being returned to consumers today comes from settlements that were entered before the Supreme Court’s decision. The Commission has urged Congress to restore the Commission’s ability to get money back for consumers.
The Commission’s interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of Commission refunds. In 2020, Commission actions led to more than $483 million in refunds to consumers across the country.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and protect and educate consumers. Learn more about consumer topics at consumer.ftc.gov, or report fraud, scams, and bad business practices at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Follow the FTC on social media, read consumer alerts and the business blog, and sign up to get the latest FTC news and alerts.