In the News
Amal and Rizkalla Kamel survived the housing crisis and the recession with their home and finances intact; their personal collapse wouldn’t come until 2012.
That winter, Amal suffered two heart attacks in two months, drastically reducing his ability to work. At the same time, Rizkalla lost her job at a gas station. Then everything really started falling apart. A year later, the family found themselves $36,000 in debt, spending what money they had on a lawyer they hired to help them avoid losing their home. They filed motions against their bank, but they had another nemesis too: the Kamels were in court battling the very government relief agency that they had turned to in hopes it would save them from their mortgage troubles....
NEW YORK -- The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday that a group of defendants in Florida have agreed to surrender assets totaling approximately $3.6 million as part of a settlement agreement related to an alleged mortgage relief scam.
The defendants also will be permanently banned from providing mortgage relief and debt relief services to consumers.
In 2012 the FTC charged 11 companies and five people with running an illegal mortgage relief scheme that operated under various names, including Prime Legal Plans. The action was part of the Distressed Homeowner Initiative, a multi-agency federal enforcement crackdown.
The FTC said that the mortgage relief scheme used a fake nonprofit called Reaching U Network and several other companies to lure consumers with false promises that enrollment would save their homes from foreclosure or result in lower mortgage payments. The defendants charged consumers as much as $750 a month in illegal advance fees but offered little or no help....
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is certainly true of banking reform. Like squeezing a water balloon, regulators have pressed hard on traditional banks in the wake of the financial crisis, only to force demand elsewhere. The other side of the balloon is swelling, with all manner of nonbank entities rushing in to offer services that fill the demand – from alternative consumer options like payday loans, online lending and other small-dollar credit to commercial financing provided by business development companies, private investment funds and other shadow bankers....
U.S. Supreme Court
A lawsuit against makers of LCD screens filed by Mississippi’s attorney general is not a “mass action” that may be removed be the defendants from state to federal court, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled.
The suit, which claimed the defendants formed a cartel to restrict competition and raise prices, had sought restitution for Mississippi citizens who bought LCD products. But the suit was not a “mass action” under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 because the state is the only named plaintiff, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a unanimous opinion (PDF)....
- FBI suspects front running of Fannie, Freddie in swaps market
- About the New Hampshire Rebellion
- Hearing entitled “How Prospective and Current Homeowners Will Be Harmed by the CFPB’s Qualified Mortgage Rule” | House Committee on Financial Services
- Behind the Headline Numbers of a Mortgage Settlement
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