Foreclosure firms ripped off homeowners, attorney general says

2012-12-17T19:16:00Z 2012-12-17T20:31:29Z Foreclosure firms ripped off homeowners, attorney general saysTimes Staff nwitimes.com
December 17, 2012 7:16 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | Attorney General Greg Zoeller said Monday two foreclosure consultant companies face state lawsuits. They are accused of taking more than $2,600 from local homeowners and not providing services or refunds.

Nevada-based Blue Chip Group Inc. and California-based Certified Legal Processing and Legal Preparation Services were illegally operating in Indiana when each company entered into contracts with homeowners.

“The tough economy paired with already struggling homeowners has meant big business for scammers who aim to prey on their victims’ desperation to stay in their homes,” Zoeller said at a news conference.

Blue Chip Group and its owner William Damiter contracted with two residents – from Lake County and Spencer County – and charged upfront fees for foreclosure consultant services ranging from $495 to $730. Zoeller filed the lawsuit today at the Lake County courthouse.

Certified Processing and Legal Preparation Services and its owner Shaun Lambert are accused of collecting $1,400 in up-front fees from a Porter County resident for similar services.

Both defendants are accused of taking the money and not rendering the promised services or providing refunds. The companies did not obtain certificates of authority from the secretary of state’s office to conduct business in Indiana and did not register $25,000 surety bonds with the attorney general’s office. These bonds are required before services can be performed, including collecting money up front.

Zoeller noted distressed homeowners at risk of foreclosure need not pay a large fee to a for-profit company, when advice on avoiding foreclosure is available for free from the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network at (877) GET-HOPE (438-4357). Hoosiers who believe they have been a victim of a foreclosure consultant scam can file a complaint with the attorney general's Consumer Protection Division at www.indianaconsumer.com or by calling (866) 382-5516.

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