The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) declared that it had settled an appeal for $12 million in consumer penalties and restitution in a longstanding enforcement action against a foreclosure relief fraud organization.
Financially distressed homeowners were defrauded of millions of dollars in unlawful advance fees by Consumer First Legal Group, LLC, and four lawyers, Thomas G. Macey, Jeffrey J. Aleman, Jason Searns, and Harold E. Stafford, in exchange for legal counsel that the defendants had promised but had not delivered.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the CFPB, and fifteen states joined forces in 2014 to combat multiple foreclosure relief scams, and this prosecution was a part of that coordinated effort. The states took thirty-two actions, the CFPB filed three complaints, and the FTC filed six lawsuits.
In 2019, the CFPB obtained a judgment against the defendants. This case has been pending due to several appeals. The most recent settlement brings the case to an end.
The defendants will pay a $1.1 million fine to the CFPB’s victims relief fund in addition to $10.9 million in consumer redress under the terms of the agreement announced today. According to the district court’s initial ruling, each offender faces an 8- or 5-year ban from the mortgage assistance industry.
To read the full announcement of the lawsuit, enforcement resolution and joint dismissal agreement, click here.