Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has announced a lawsuit against a Chicago-based mortgage rescue business — Credence Law Group Inc. — for taking money from consumers while making false promises about its ability to rescue them from foreclosure.
The lawsuit, filed in the Erie County Court of Common Pleas, is part of a nationwide sweep against fraudulent mortgage rescue services.
“Mortgage rescue schemes give false hope to homeowners who are already struggling,” Attorney General DeWine said. “They fail to provide any real help and often push homeowners closer to foreclosure. In this case, the business represented itself as a law firm that would provide professional services to consumers, but it didn’t provide consumers with the loan modifications that it promised, and then it refused to provide refunds.”
Credence Law Group was a Chicago-based corporation that offered mortgage loan modification services to consumers nationwide. Byron Landau, who ran Credence Law Group, is an attorney, but he is not licensed in Ohio.
Five Ohio consumers filed complaints with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office against Credence Law Group, though additional consumers may be affected. In their complaints, consumers said they paid the business $900 to $3,000 or more for loan modifications they never received. Credence Law Group never refunded their money.
In one instance, the business allegedly promised a loan modification to a consumer who had already had a foreclosure action filed against her and whose home had already been sold at a sheriff’s sale.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit charges the business and its principal Byron Landau with violations of the Consumer Sales Practices Act and Debt Adjuster’s Act. In the lawsuit, the Attorney General seeks a judgment declaring the acts and practices that Credence Law Group committed to be illegal, an injunction to stop further violations, restitution for consumers, and civil penalties.
The lawsuit is part of a joint federal-state sweep by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, and 15 states targeting scam operations that prey on delinquent homeowners or those facing foreclosure. Participating in today’s sweep are the attorneys general of Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Washington, and Wisconsin. Also participating are the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation and Washington Department of Financial Institutions.
Ohio consumers who believe they have been treated unfairly should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.
To read the lawsuit, click on the link below.