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Agencies take action to halt mortgage schemes

The Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and various state agencies have announced actions taken against six mortgage relief operations, charging that defendants preyed on distressed homeowners by misrepresenting that they typically could lower homeowners' mortgage payments and interest rates or prevent foreclosure, and illegally charging advance fees. The actions were part of Operation Mis-Modification, a joint federal and state enforcement sweep conducted with the CFPB. The defendants were charged with violating the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule (CFPB Regulation O, 12 CFR Part 1015), which bans mortgage foreclosure rescue and loan modification services from collecting fees until homeowners have a written offer from their lender or servicer that they deem acceptable. The CFPB also issued a Consumer Advisory about foreclosure relief scams or bogus legal help.v

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