HOBART | It was just a "day in the life" for the Indiana Attorney General's Office as it completed its move from Merrillville to Hobart's Police, Court and Community Complex.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed five lawsuits ranging from foreclosure consultants to violations by local used car dealerships in Lake County.
First Financial Link LLC and Josegan Inc., both of Florida, are accused of bilking two Lake County victims for a total of $3,500. The businesses promised to reduce homeowners' interest rates or monthly payments in exchange for an upfront fee. The companies also did not register a $25,000 surety bond with the Attorney General's Office to conduct business as foreclosure consultants in the Indiana.
"These are things we're very aggressive about," Zoeller said. "We'll probably find out after we file this how many other people might have been similarly scammed. Right now we're telling people don't pay money up front to foreclosure rescue outfits."
Hometown Motors in Gary and Luke's Family Motors in Highland face lawsuits for allegedly taking advantage of consumers by rolling back odometers. The Attorney General's Office said Hometown Motors and its owner John F. Petrassi are accused of knowingly reporting inaccurate mileage and year of a used vehicle and failing to provide titles to purchase vehicles.
Luke's Family Motors, in addition to an accusation of misrepresenting mileage of a used vehicle, is accused of violating the terms of a previous settlement reached with the Attorney General's Office.
"That will up the ante when it comes to penalties," Zoeller said. "The first time we can usually work something out that makes it clear we're paying close attention. The second time you're in real trouble."
The Attorney General's Office also filed a lawsuit against The Vacation Store and its owner Tom Chocholek for allegedly taking payments for travel packages and failing to pay resorts for purchased accommodations. The business is not located in Lake County but has taken money from its residents, Zoeller said.
"This is just a day in the life of this office," Zoeller said. "It adds to the work we do every day."