Posted Aug 13, 2014 06:27 pm CDT
The states of Florida and Connecticut have obtained a temporary restraining order in a suit claiming two law firms and related defendants collected at least $4.7 million in upfront fees from consumers in an alleged mortgage rescue scam.
Among the eight defendants are the Berger Law Firm, a Florida corporation, and the Resolution Law Group, a Connecticut corporation. Also named as defendants are Tampa lawyer Ian Berger, who formed the Berger Law Firm, and San Clemente, California, lawyer Robert Geoffrey Broderick, who formed the Resolution Law Group and is licensed to practice in Connecticut and two other jurisdictions. The Connecticut Law Tribune and the Tampa Bay Business Journal covered the suit; a news release is here.
The suit (PDF) claims the defendants persuaded consumers to pay to be included in so-called “mass joinder” lawsuits against lenders that will provide mortgage modifications or foreclosure relief. In reality, the firms provide little or no assistance to homeowners, the suit says.
According to the suit, the scheme often begins with misleading mailers notifying consumers they are potential plaintiffs in a national lawsuit against their lender. Consumers who respond reach the “telemarketing boiler room and are subjected to further high pressure sales tactics by commission-based, nonattorney sales agents,” the suit says.
Although the law firms charge varying amounts, typically consumers are asked to pay a $6,000 “investigation fee,” followed by a $500 monthly “maintenance fee,” the suit says.