California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. has shuttered Lifetime Financial, Nations Mortgage, Greenleaf Lending, Virtual Escrow, Olympic Escrow and Direct Credit Solutions, which ran a complex predatory lending scheme using bait-and-switch tactics to victimize thousands of consumers in California, many of whom have lost their homes.
‘As the mortgage crisis worsens, a growing number of fly-by-night companies are employing utterly brazen tactics to push homeowners into illegal and unconscionable loans,’ Brown says. ‘The illegal sales practices of these companies, run by Eric Pony and his family, included psychological pressure, forgery and outright lies.’
Although the exact number of victims is unknown at this time, Pony, the president of Lifetime Financial, claims to have arranged thousands of loans. During the investigation that led to the lawsuit, the California Attorney General's Office took declarations from more than 20 individuals who had been scammed by these companies.
The Los Angeles Superior Court, at the request of the attorney general, has frozen all the companies' real estate and bank accounts and enjoined them from engaging in further predatory practices.
Brown says he intends to bring additional legal actions, both civil and criminal, against other mortgage lenders and foreclosure consultants who are taking advantage of homeowners across California.