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April 21, 2015

National mortgage servicing company Green Tree Servicing LLC agreed to pay $63 million to resolve FTC charges that it harmed homeowners with illegal loan servicing and debt collection practices. The FTC alleged that Green Tree made illegal and abusive debt collection calls to consumers, misrepresented the amounts people owed, and failed to honor loan modification agreements between consumers and their prior servicers, among other charges. Green Tree has also agreed to create a home preservation plan for some distressed homeowners and take rigorous steps to ensure that it collects the correct amounts from consumers. FTC

March 26, 2015

Pinnacle Financial Consulting, LLC and its owner Robert Burton have been ordered to pay more than $1.9 million for preying upon vulnerable consumers during the foreclosure crisis and engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. MA

February 5, 2105

A group of Utah-based defendants led by Philip J. Danielson and his company, Danielson Law Group, settled FTC charges that they broke the law by conning consumers into paying hefty fees for worthless mortgage relief services. The five proposed orders settling the FTC’s charges ban the defendants from offering mortgage assistance relief services and from participating in the debt relief industry. According to the FTC, defendants lured consumers into paying $500 to $3,900 by falsely promising that attorneys would negotiate loan modifications that would substantially reduce the consumers’ mortgage payments. The complaint also alleged that the defendants used the name Danielson Law Group and other attorney or law firm names to look like they had lawyers all over the country, even though many consumers never met or spoke to an attorney. FTC

January 21, 2015

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman joined the SEC and the office of the Massachusetts Attorney General in announcing a settlement with Standard and Poor’s Financial Services LLC regarding false and misleading statements made by S&P in connection with its rating of certain Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS). According to the government, from February 2011 to July 2011, S&P loosened the criteria it applied to rate eight CMBS, failed to disclose this fact to investors, and misled market participants into thinking the ratings for their investments were based on more conservative assumptions than was actually the case. Under the settlement, New York will receive $12M in penalties, Massachussetts will receive $7M in penalties, and the SEC will receive $35M in penalties as well as $7M in disgorgement and interest. The SEC also resolved two other matters related to S&P bringing the total government recovery to nearly $80M. NY

January 16, 2015

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Citi, and Wells Fargo Bank agreed to pay $2.7M million and undertake obligations to facilitate the repair of defective property titles, resolving claims they violated Massachusetts foreclosure law and the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act by illegally foreclosing upon Massachusetts residents’ homes when the banks lacked the legal authority to do so. MA

November 6, 2014

Michigan Attorney General announced the distribution of $747,000 from the State’s Foreclosure Scam Restitution Fund to compensate 36 southeast Michigan victims of mortgage modification fraud from Nationwide Consulting, LLC. The operators of the business, Kenneth Sandoval and Zacharia Ortiz were both previously convicted for their role in the scam. MI AG
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