Charlotte loan modification business shuttered, AG Cooper says
Release date: 7/15/2013
Lender Exchange ceases operations in NC, will repay consumers who complained
Raleigh: A Charlotte loan modification company that claimed to help people lower their mortgage payments and save their homes from foreclosure but actually did little or nothing to help them is permanently out of business in North Carolina, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.
“Loan modification scams convince people to waste valuable time and money that could be better spent getting real help to avoid foreclosure,” Cooper said. “Never pay money upfront for foreclosure help.”
More than 1,200 consumers have complained to the Attorney General’s Office about foreclosure assistance and loan modification schemes over the past five years. Cooper and his Consumer Protection team have taken 17 foreclosure scammers to court, winning judgments worth more than $1.6 million from foreclosure scammers including refunds for consumer victims of these schemes.
Cooper filed suit in September 2012 against Lender Exchange for charging consumers illegal advance fees for mortgage loan modification services and then failing to provide them with meaningful help. Under North Carolina law, it’s illegal to charge an upfront fee for foreclosure assistance or loan modification services.
Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens signed off on a consent judgment which permanently bans Lender Exchange and its owners, Kenneth Carl McCurd and Tanya Louisa Wilson, from conducting any loan modification, foreclosure assistance or debt relief services in the state. The owners will also pay refunds of $4,000 to consumers who complained to Cooper’s office about their company. If the defendants violate the judgment, they will have to pay an additional $58,000.
According to Cooper’s complaint, Lender Exchange falsely claimed that no homeowner who used its services had ever lost their home to foreclosure and promised prospective customers a full refund if it wasn’t able to obtain a loan modification for them. However, homeowners who paid Lender Exchange its fee of one month’s mortgage payment and did not get meaningful help have had a hard time getting their money back.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division received eight complaints about Lender Exchange, including some forwarded by the Better Business Bureau and Legal Aid of NC. To file a consumer complaint, call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina or fill out a complaint form at www.ncdoj.gov.
Consumers who are behind on their mortgage payments should contact their mortgage lender or servicer immediately. In North Carolina, free help dealing with foreclosure is available from the State Home Foreclosure Prevention Project by calling 1-888-623-8621. The State Home Foreclosure Prevention Project, which is administered by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, helps North Carolina homeowners who are facing foreclosure for any reason with free housing counseling, access to legal services for people with lower incomes, and help dealing with your mortgage servicer.
“We all benefit when people are able stay in their homes,” Cooper said. “Homeowners who are struggling to stay afloat can get free, legitimate help instead of falling for a scam.”
Consumers who have mortgages serviced by the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers can also benefit from a landmark national agreement worth up to $37 billion that Cooper helped negotiate last year. That agreement includes approximately $338 million in assistance to North Carolina consumers such as reduced principals and lower mortgage interest rates.
Media contact: Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413