A California foreclosure assistance company, Peoples First Financial Inc., is the latest outfit to be banned from offering loan modification and foreclosure assistance services in North Carolina, Attorney General Roy Cooper stated. Wake County Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones granted Cooper’s request for a default judgment against Peoples First Financial Inc., which permanently bans the California company from performing or offering foreclosure assistance, loan modification and debt relief services in the state of North Carolina. The judgment also orders Peoples First Financial to pay $9,497.50 in refunds to consumers and $25,000 in civil penalties to local public schools. “Foreclosure assistance schemes take money out of the economy and push homeowners deeper into debt,” Attorney General Cooper said. “Homeowners often lose their homes and end up paying thousands of dollars for help that never comes.” This is the 13th case won by Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division against foreclosure assistance and loan modification scams in the past five years and the second such win so far in 2011. Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division was first alerted to Peoples First Financial in early 2009 after hearing from consumers who paid a $2,495 upfront fee for loan modification services they never received. Cooper then filed suit against the company, alleging it charged homeowners an advance fee for loan modification which is illegal under North Carolina law. Shortly after the suit was filed, People First Financial shut down its operations and went out of business. “Scammers undermine the good work being done by legitimate housing counselors to help families keep their homes,” said Attorney General Cooper. “There’s real help for available for free for North Carolina homeowners who want options to avoid foreclosure.” For more information, visit www.ncdoj.com.
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