Statement as issued Monday by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office:
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced today that 18 victims of foreclosure-rescue fraud have started receiving payments from the state’s Consumer Protection Assistance Fund (CPAF).
Zoeller, whose office administers the fund, said consumers’ losses ranged from $595 to $3,500 and totaled more than $40,880. Affected consumers will receive more than $32,940 in total payments with each person receiving an amount equal to their loss – up to $3,000. Victims are from Allen, Elkhart, Hamilton, Johnson, Marion, Marshall and St. Joseph counties.
“The Consumer Protection Assistance Fund provides relief for consumers who are victims of fraud and assist my office in bringing legal actions against those that prey on consumers,” Zoeller said. “Thanks to state lawmakers’ efforts in creating the fund, it continues to give victims who are facing difficult times the means to recover some or all of their losses.”
Foreclosure-rescue fraud targets homeowners who are late on their mortgage payments or are already in foreclosure. Foreclosure consultants charge customers exorbitant upfront fees in exchange for assistance in reducing monthly payments or stopping foreclosure. Most often, desperate homeowners pay the fees and don’t receive the promised services or a refund.
Zoeller said default judgments against these types of companies do not often result in the victims receiving any payments for their financial losses. In order to help those who reported these types of violators to the state, the 2011 Indiana General Assembly passed legislation creating the CPAF. The funds originate from monies recovered from companies sued by the attorney general for violating consumer protection laws.
In 2013, the attorney general’s office filed 41 lawsuits against foreclosure consultants. Zoeller said homeowners who are facing foreclosure should contact the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network at 1-877-GET-HOPE.