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Judge Halts 2 Mortgage Service Operations

(CN) - A federal judge in New Jersey granted the Federal Trade Commission's request to stop two firms from falsely claiming to be affiliation with the HOPE NOW Alliance, a government-endorsed mortgage assistance network.

U.S. District Judge Jerome Simandle issued temporary restraining orders against two groups of defendants: New Hope Property, Brian Mammoccio and Donna Fisher; and Hope Now Modifications, Hope Now Financial Services, Nick Puglia and Salvatore Puglia Sr. The judge said the defendants were likely to continue violating the FTC Act unless the court stepped in.

The FTC accused the defendants of claiming an affiliation with the HOPE NOW Alliance in order to advertise foreclosure-rescue services to distressed homeowners. The defendants allegedly skimmed a month's mortgage payment as the fee, often failed to help the homeowners and then denied them refunds.

Judge Simandle froze their assets and gave them five days to turn over their records to the FTC.

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