Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit against two related businesses, Legal Helpers Debt Resolution LLC and Mortgage Law Group LLC, that failed to deliver on promises to provide loan modification and mortgage relief to homeowners.
The suit also names the companies’ managing partner, Jason Edward Searns; senior partner, Thomas Macey; and senior partner, Jeffery Aleman. It alleges the defendants lured consumers with promises of mortgage modifications or debt settlements, then encouraged them to pay the companies, rather than their creditors. Many consumers thus defaulted on their obligations and never received the services the defendants promised.
Specific allegations in the lawsuit state the businesses broke Missouri’s consumer protection laws by:
• Misrepresenting to consumers the results the defendants could achieve and the time necessary to achieve promised results;
• Persuading consumers to stop making payments to their lenders and creditors while failing to inform the consumers of the legal consequences that could result from withholding those payments;
• Taking upfront payments from consumers for debt relief and loan modification services;
• Failing to provide services as promised to consumers;
• Failing to place legally required notifications of consumers’ rights in contracts;
• Misrepresenting that the defendants’ services would be performed by attorneys licensed to practice law in Missouri, and:
• Engaging in the practice of law in Missouri without a license to do so.
“It is distressing that individuals would take advantage of people who are trying their best to save their homes. Not only did these scammers fail to help their customers, they actually made their financial situation much worse,” Koster said. “My office will seek restitution for the cheated customers, and also work to shut these businesses down to protect other consumers from their fraudulent tactics.”
Koster noted that consumers can apply to the federal Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) on their own, or can seek assistance from a housing counselor approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at no charge.