FTC, California DFPI Team Up Against Mortgage Relief Scams

  • The FTC and California’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) obtained default judgments against six companies doing business as Home Matters USA, Academy Home Services, Atlantic Pacific Service Group, Golden Home Services America, and their owners (collectively, “companies”), finding that they operated fraudulent mortgage relief scams in violation of the FTC Act, federal telemarketing and mortgage assistance relief services laws, the Covid-19 Consumer Protection Act, and the California Consumer Financial Protection Law (CCFPL).
  • As alleged in the complaint, the companies defrauded distressed homeowners by falsely promising to reduce mortgage payments and prevent foreclosures in exchange for large up-front payments, in some cases resulting in consumers incurring penalties or triggering foreclosure proceedings by following the companies’ instructions to cease making payments.
  • The court banned the companies from engaging in telemarketing or debt relief services, and ordered them to pay nearly $16 million in restitution to consumers and over $3 million in penalties to the DFPI, among other things.
  • According to the agencies, this action was the first case brought jointly by the FTC and DFPI. The CCFPL came into effect in 2021, and authorizes the DFPI to regulate persons engaged in offering or providing consumer financial products or services in the state, and affiliated service providers.