After illegally charging consumers for mortgage relief services it didn’t provide, Texas-based Home Relief Foundation has been barred from advertising, marketing, promoting or selling debt relief products or services.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, which shut down the phony mortgage relief operation in 2014, the Home Relief Foundation preyed on struggling homeowners, promising to lower mortgage interest rates and monthly house payments. The scammers charged an up-front fee, ranging from $500 to $4,000, for services it didn’t render.
Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement:
“The economic meltdown may be over, but scammers are still taking advantage of people struggling to pay their mortgages. As long as phony mortgage relief operations keep breaking the law and ripping off distressed homeowners, we’ll go after them and shut them down.”
Home Relief Foundation allegedly told consumers to quit paying their mortgage so they could afford their up-front fee. The scammers didn’t tell the homeowners that not paying their mortgage could potentially lead to foreclosure and damage their credit rating.
In addition to barring the scammers from selling debt relief products or services, the court order also imposed a $1.2 million judgment, which is the amount swindled from consumers during the three-year scam.
Ironically, because of Home Relief Foundation’s inability to pay, the judgment will be partially suspended after it pays the FTC $68,000.
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