White-Collar Crime

Former lawyer enters not guilty plea in alleged mortgage scam

A former California lawyer has pleaded not guilty to federal charges that he lent his law license to others in connection with a fraudulent $12 million mortgage modification scheme.

Ronald Rodis, the former operator of Rodis Law Group and America’s Law Group in Newport Beach, was arrested last week, the National Law Journal reports.

Federal prosecutors have charged Rodis and two other men with 10 felony counts each in connection with the alleged scheme, which collected $12 million in retainer fees from more than 1,800 homeowners in 2008 and 2009, according to the indictment against them.

Prosecutors say the two firms, which advertised on radio stations nationwide, promised homeowners that a “team of attorneys” would negotiate with lenders to modify their mortgages.

“Posing as successful lawyers, these defendants offered struggling homeowners false hopes and bogus promises of quality legal representation,” U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said of the charges in a news release.

Rodis resigned from the state bar in 2009, soon after then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation prohibiting lawyers from collecting advance fees for residential loan modification and mortgage loan forbearance services.

A lawyer for Rodis could not be reached for comment.

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