The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has taken swift action to stop an unlicensed mortgage loan modification company from continuing to harm Washington consumers.
DFI issued a Temporary Cease and Desist Order against Home Credit Law Center, its President, attorney Brian R. Linnekens, and an employee, Derek Thomas. The Department ordered the Respondents, all of Los Angeles, to immediately cease and desist unlicensed activity, misrepresenting that Mr. Linnekens was licensed to practice law in Washington, and taking advance fees for loan modification services.
"A local consumer reporter brought this issue to our attention recently," DFI's Director of Consumer Services Deb Bortner said. "We offered Mr. Linnekens the opportunity to voluntarily cease and desist, but he refused. After a quick but thorough investigation, we concluded that Home Credit Law Center posed a continuing threat to Washington consumers, and we have shut them down."
"DFI's Consumer Services division is committed to ensuring the safety and soundness of Washington's mortgage industry — including foreclosure prevention and assistance," DFI Director Scott Jarvis said. "It's appalling how many individuals continue to take advantage of distressed homeowners in the midst of one of the most difficult times of their lives."
As the mortgage crisis continues in Washington, more homeowners are facing the prospect of foreclosure. Some, in a desperate search for relief, cling to any offer of help. Home Credit Law Center employees call Washington homeowners offering that relief for a $3,000 advance fee.
"Loan modification services are offered for free through Housing and Urban Development-approved specialists," continued Bortner. "Before you pay for loan modification services, see if a HUD-approved housing counselor can help you for free."
To view the KING5-TV report by Jesse Jones on Home Credit Law Center, go to http://www.king5.com/video?id=119367394&sec=585277
A list of HUD-approved counselors is available at http://hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm?webListAction=search&searchstate=WA. DFI provides a number of resources for homeowners facing foreclosure at www.homeownership.wa.gov
To verify whether a company offering residential loan modification is licensed by DFI, go to www.dfi.wa.gov and click on the "Verify License" link.