Prosecutors nationwide filed 189 legal actions Wednesday against loan modification consultants accused of bilking homeowners who are desperate to make their mortgage payments more affordable.
The lawsuits and cease-and-desist orders announced by Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz and California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown were part of a nationwide sweep of alleged sham consultants by the federal agency and officials in 18 states.
Leibowitz used the announcement to put scam artists on notice and urged homeowners to protect themselves from being exploited.
He said fraudulent loan modification consultants are "full of hollow promises designed to fatten the pockets of criminals and con men."
The lawsuits filed by the FTC included allegations that Aliso Viejo-based Lucas Law Center persuaded distressed borrowers to stop paying their mortgages in order to pay the firm's fees of up to $3,995.