JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CN) - A financial firm took thousands of dollars from customers for mortgage relief services but didn't actually provide the promised help, Florida's attorney general claims in court.
The office of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says in a lawsuit filed last week in Duval County that Heathrow Financial Corp. and owner David Golloher even caused some people to lose their homes.
Heathrow advertises mortgage assistance relief services such as document reviews, mortgage loan modifications, and foreclosure defense services, according to the Jan. 6 lawsuit.
"Defendants target consumers who are in financial distress, behind on their mortgage loans, or in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure," the complaint states.
The company usually charged consumers $975 up front for mortgage relief services, plus a fee of $175 per month, Bondi's office claims.
Heathrow allegedly told customers to stop paying their mortgage and start paying Heathrow to start the mortgage modification process.
When consumers received letters from their mortgage servicers about the possibility of foreclosure because of nonpayment, they contacted Heathrow, which did not "accurately inform consumers about the progress of the represented mortgage modification," according to the lawsuit.
"As a result of defendants' acts and practices, consumers suffer substantial economic injury, including: paying thousands of dollars to defendants for little or no service in return, going into foreclosure, and even losing their homes," the complaint states. "After consumers have signed up with defendants and paid the requested advance fees, defendants have failed to obtain a loan modification, principal reduction, or other relief to stop foreclosure or make the consumers' mortgage payments affordable."
Bondi's office alleges violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
"In truth and in fact, defendants do not obtain mortgage relief services for their clients," the lawsuit states.
The state seeks civil penalties, an order granting restitution to consumers damaged by Heathrow and Golloher, and an order freezing their assets.
Neither Heathrow nor Golloher could be reached for comment.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.