Scams abound in all industries. You may get phone calls from people claiming to be from the IRS or Social Security Administration asking for your personal information. If you have debt or are facing foreclosure on your home, you may get calls and emails from companies willing to “help” you.
Homeowners who are behind on their mortgage payments are often desperate for any help they can get. They want to be able to keep their home, but make lower payments. Scammers take advantage of this and often prey on homeowners who are in default and facing foreclosure.
This happened to several Maryland homeowners. Four people entrusted their mortgage payments with a representative from Mortgage Help Now. The woman received payments from homeowners and then placed them into her own personal account. The mortgage lenders never saw these payments. The mortgage consultant from Mortgage Help Now is now facing 22 felony theft charges.
Several people were contacted by Mortgage Help Now, a company that boasts 32 years of experience in the mortgage industry, with a goal of reducing monthly mortgages for U.S. homeowners. The representative asked them to pay her money upfront. She then told them she would personally contact their lenders and negotiate new terms on their behalf. Instead, the woman never communicated with the mortgage companies. She placed the checks into her personal account. One homeowner made 22 payments to the woman.
The homeowners didn’t think anything was wrong until they received notices from their lenders stating they were losing their homes. They contacted their mortgage lenders and were told that the mortgage companies had never heard of the woman or the company she allegedly worked for, Mortgage Help Now.
This type of mortgage scam is not unusual. Maryland’s Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation, which is investigating this case, has prosecuted hundreds of mortgage consultants in the past 10 years. Maryland doesn’t require that mortgage consultants be licensed. However, they do have to register their businesses. Mortgage Help Now is not registered.
There are also specific laws that mortgage consultants must follow. These include state and federal laws in regard to written contracts, disclosures and prohibition of upfront fees.
Homeowners who are facing financial difficulties should consult with their mortgage company first. Many are willing to work with clients and make modifications as needed. Be wary of scams. Do your research before giving a company any of your money or personal information.
Theft is a common crime, as most people are motivated by money. However, taking another person’s property and benefiting from it is not only immoral, but also illegal.
If you are facing theft charges, you could be facing hefty fines and prison time. You may even need to pay back the money you stole. Preserve your legal rights with help from the Columbia theft lawyers at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. Let us help you reduce your charges. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form.
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