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Tag Archives: Federal Trade Commission

Q1 GDP Growth Trimmed

The nation’s economy grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter, far slower than previous report for the three months ended March 31, the Bureau of Economic Analysis said Wednesday. Previous reports on the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), based on incomplete data, had estimated growth at 2.4 percent, and economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the most recent report would confirm that growth rate.

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Agencies Target Companies for Tactics Used in Mortgage Ads

Two federal agencies partnered up to let certain companies know their mortgage advertising tactics may be unlawful. On Monday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced letters were issued over potentially misleading advertisements that target veterans and older Americans. The CFPB sent about a dozen warning letters to mortgage lenders and brokers, and the FTC sent 20 letters to real estate agents, home builders, and lead generators.

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FTC Files Separate Suits Against Three Mortgage Relief Companies

Three mortgage relief companies are in hot water after the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged them with using deceptive tactics to prey on distressed homeowners. The FTC filed three separate suits against Prime Legal Plans, American Mortgage Consulting Group, and Expense Management America for allegedly violating its Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule, which prohibits certain practices commonly used by fraudulent mortgage assistance companies.

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FTC Alleges Equifax ‘Improperly’ Sold Information on Late Borrowers

Equifax and its customers reached separate settlements with the FTC, agreeing to pay a total of $1.6 million for improper sale of consumer credit information. The FTC alleges Equifax sold more than 17,000 lists of people who met specific criteria, such as being late on their mortgage payments. Equifax is said to have sold the lists to Direct Lending Source, Inc., which in turn sold the lists to other third parties. The lists included information such as credit scores and detailed how many days past due consumers' mortgage payments were.

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Some MARS Stipulations No Longer Enforced

The Federal Trade Commission will no longer enforce most provisions set forth in the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule, according to a recent statement. The MARS Rule required real estate agents to make several disclosures when assisting distressed homeowners in obtaining short sales from their lenders or servicers. The rule also banned advance fee collection and prohibited false or misleading statements. After the Rule was enacted by Congress, several real estate agents complained that the disclosures often confused homeowners or misled them.

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Mortgage Fraud Remains a Primary Focus for Federal Task Force

Law enforcement officials say fraudsters and con artists see opportunity in turmoil, and right now, arguably the most tumultuous economic sector is housing. In its first year, the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force more than doubled the number of defendants charged with mortgage fraud. Mortgage fraud punishments followed the same trend, with nearly twice as many prison sentences of more than two years. But task force members say it's not enough, especially when the economy hasn't fully recovered.

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Government Returns $2.3M to Victims of Foreclosure Rescue Scam

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has mailed 1,410 refund checks totaling $2.3 million to consumers allegedly defrauded by Home Assure LLC, a so-called mortgage foreclosure rescue service. The FTC alleged that the company charged consumers an up-front fee of $1,500 to $2,500, and falsely claimed its ""special"" relationships with lenders would enable the company to secure favorable loan modifications or stop foreclosure altogether - promises the federal agency says the company did not keep.

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Fair Housing Investigation Uncovers Corrupt Loan Mod Practices

Four fair housing organizations have released their findings of a year-long undercover investigation of 80 loan modification companies, which reveal a host of corrupt practices scammers employ to target homeowners in distress. According to the report, 55 percent of loan modification companies required an upfront fee to start work or a low initial fee to conduct minimal work, such as reviewing loan documents. Twenty-four percent advised or encouraged homeowners to stop making mortgage payments or stop contacting their lenders.

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FTC Orders Phony Mortgage Mod Company to Repay Customers $2.4M

Deceptive mortgage relief marketers continue to prey on financially distressed homeowners, but one such company has been stopped in its tracks. Home Assure, LLC, has been charged by the Federal Trade Commission for deceiving consumers with promises that it could save their homes from foreclosure. To settle these charges, the company must refund customers $2.4 million, and it can no longer sell mortgage loan modification or foreclosure relief services.

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