Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against Chicago-based Advantage Mortgage Counseling for engaging in deceptive lending practices that have resulted in the loss of at least one consumer's home.
Madigan's lawsuit, filed against the firm and president Robert Enright, alleges that the defendants employed a variety of schemes to convince consumers – including many on the brink of foreclosure – that they would pay lower monthly mortgage payments when, in fact, their monthly rates later increased significantly.
Specifically, the defendants used deceptive refinancing schemes, padded loans with higher-than-stated fees, failed to disclose prepayment penalties and brokered adjustable rate mortgages with consumers who believed they were agreeing to fixed-rate mortgages, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit seeks a court order prohibiting Advantage Mortgage Consulting from engaging in deceptive business practices and imposing a civil penalty of $50,000 for each violation committed with the intent to defraud and a $10,000 penalty for each instance where a violation was committed against a person 65 years of age or older.
Further, the suit asks the court to rescind the contracts signed as a result of these deceptive practices and offer full restitution to affected consumers, the attorney general's office adds. Finally, the defendants would be required to pay all costs associated with the investigation and prosecution of the lawsuit.