Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed lawsuits against four Chicago-area companies and licensed attorneys, charging them with operating fraudulent mortgage rescue and loan modification schemes. The companies cited in the lawsuit are ZeTrust Legal Services, based in Chicago; Legal Modification Network LLC, based in Woodridge; Loan Litigators International LLC, a now defunct company that operated out of Lombard; and Exelpol Management & Consulting Inc., a dissolved corporation based in Schaumburg.
In a statement issued by her office, Madigan states the lawsuit actions are ‘part of a multi-agency effort to crack down on a growing number of Illinois attorneys and loan modification operators who illegally exploit a provision in the 2006 Mortgage Rescue Fraud Act that allows lawyers to collect up-front fees from homeowners for mortgage rescue services in the course of legitimate legal work.’ As part of this combined effort, the Cook County State's Attorney's Office filed a similar lawsuit against an Arlington Heights-based loan modification and debt settlement company, Legal Housing and Debt Advisor LLC, along with Jason Tong, its managing member and principal owner.
‘By now, we've all seen the ads from so-called 'loan mod consultants' or 'mortgage rescuers,' claiming they'll save your house from foreclosure,’ Madigan says. ‘Please know these operations are run by con artists who have started to use attorneys as sham fronts. These operators are scamming families out of thousands of dollars and actually making foreclosure more likely.’
The attorney general's lawsuits seek to shut down the businesses that are still operating and obtain restitution for at least 76 consumers who have so far reported being victimized. The lawsuits also seek to bar the defendants from providing mortgage rescue services in Illinois and to order each defendant to pay a civil penalty of $50,000 and additional penalties of $50,000 for each act committed with intent to defraud.