September 2, 2016
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission oversees cases involving mortgages, but the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently stepped in to ban several companies from operating in the mortgage industry after finding them guilty of making false claims to homeowners. The companies, Redstone Law Group and Surety Law Group, voluntarily agreed to the ban in a settlement agreement on September 1. The groups will no longer be allowed to sell debt relief services or products due to their misrepresentation and violations of the national Do Not Call list. An individual, Edward William Rennick III, was also banned.
The two groups impersonated law firms approached homeowners who are financially burdened and facing foreclosure with promises of legal assistance and the opportunity to lower their monthly payments or interest. However, after paying for such services, homeowners received nothing. Many paid several thousand dollars expecting to have their mortgage modified, while others agreed to pay an ongoing monthly fee. The businesses told these homeowners that they could stop paying their mortgage payments, because they had applied for a modification.
Several other individuals and groups have been charged with operating similar scams and had a judgment issued against them by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida. While Redstone Law Group, Surety Law Group, and Mr Rennick have accepted being banned and of surrendering specific assets, the other groups were subject to a court judgment. The settlement terms imposed on these organizations and individuals were the same.