On behalf of the people of the State of Illinois, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed five lawsuits on September 27, 2011 against a host of companies, individuals, and lawyers engaged in mortgage rescue work. The cases -- People v. Exelpol Management & Consulting, Inc., People v. Loan Litigators International, LLC et al., People v. ZeTrust Legal Services, P.C., et al., People v. Wildermuth, et al.,and People v. Legal Housing & Debt Advisors, LLC, et al. -- all contain similar allegations and claims under Illinois Mortgage Rescue Fraud Act ("Rescue Act") and Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
In terms of unfair or deceptive acts or practices, the State alleges that, among other things, the defendants:
- deceived consumers by scheming to evade the upfront fee prohibition in the Rescue Act by creating the appearance that attorneys were performing loan modifications when non-attorneys were actually performing most or all of the work;
- misrepresented that clients owed $1000 in addition to upfront fees already paid, even though the clients had not received a loan modification;
- misrepresented that the loan modification process took 45-60 days;
- deceptively collected money to obtain home loan modifications and then failed to do so;
- misrepresented the ability to improve a consumer's credit rating;
- claimed that an attorney would be needed to perform certain services and then demanded additional payment for attorney's fees, but provided no legal services;
- told consumers to stop paying their mortgage in order to qualify for a loan modification without explaining the ramifications to the consumer; and
- promising to refund consumers' money if the attempt at modification failed, then failing to refund the money.