Mortgage Assistance Frauds Abound

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – A disbarred attorney helped a dozen people and six businesses defraud people of “thousands of dollars” in a mortgage assistance scam, eight homeowners claim in court.
     Lead plaintiff Marcia Baker sued nine businesses and 13 people in Superior Court.
     The lead defendant is Platinum Law Group; also sued are Platinum Law Center and former attorney Jerry Stevenson.
     The plaintiffs claim the defendants took thousands of dollars by promising financially distressed homeowners services they didn’t provide.
     “Preying on plaintiffs’ few remaining hopes, defendants used deceptive and misleading marketing tactics to lure plaintiffs into sham contracts under which plaintiffs paid thousands of dollars in illegal up-front fees for loan modification services,” the complaint states. “Simultaneously, defendants also advised plaintiffs to stop paying their mortgages and to stop communicating with their mortgage providers, claiming this would accelerate and facilitate the loan modification process.”
     The defendants stole “thousands of dollars” from the plaintiffs, and ignored their calls, emails and letters asking for updates on their loan modifications, the complaint states. Many plaintiffs say they had to pay late fees and penalties, and some went into foreclosure because they followed the defendants’ advice.
     The plaintiffs claim defendant Jerry Stevenson roped people into the scam by mailing them “unsolicited and misleading” ads.
     Stevenson was disbarred after he received two disciplinary actions related to the scam, the complaint states.
     Hundreds of lawsuits have been filed across the country, alleging similar scams by other defendants.
     The plaintiffs seek at least $16,000 in damages per person, exemplary damages, an injunction and restitution for fraud, unfair competition, false advertising and consumer law violations.
     They are represented by Ronald L. Johnson with Arnold and Porter.
     Here are the defendants: Platinum Law Group; Modern Media Services; Platinum Law Center; HLM Consulting; Priority Realty Group; Priority Financial Group; Priority Mortgage Group; Labrea Group; Baldwin Property Partners; Diana Ambriz; Daniel Ardon; John De La Garza; David Gomez; Raudel Guerrero; Paul Hernandez; Jay Jackson; Jeff Marklein; Charlie Melendez; Michael Morga; John Romero; Jerry Stevenson; and Martha Tapia.

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