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The Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation Joins CFPB, FTC & States in Sweep Targeting Mortgage Rescue Schemes

BALTIMORE, MD (July 23, 2014) – The Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation issued two cease and desist orders against companies and individuals for operating illegal loan modification schemes that scammed consumers into paying large upfront fees but did nothing to help them stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure.

The actions are part of a joint federal-state sweep by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission and 15 states targeting scam operations that prey on delinquent homeowners or those facing foreclosure.

Mortgage rescue scams target struggling homeowners and, for an upfront fee, promise to save their homes by negotiating lower mortgage payments with the homeowners’ lenders. But after collecting upfront fees, these scam operations fail to negotiate or perform any services on behalf of the homeowners, placing their victims at even greater risk of foreclosure.

“As many Maryland borrowers continue to struggle as a result of the slow and uneven economic recovery, we in the regulatory and law enforcement arena must remain committed to investigating and addressing the misconduct of those who wish to prey on these hardworking and vulnerable families,” said Acting Commissioner of Financial Regulation Gordon M. Cooley. “The result of today’s sweep demonstrates that commitment and should be a warning to those who wish to perpetrate fraud that we are dedicated to finding you and stopping you.”

“Homeowners should beware of anyone offering to ‘save’ their home or requesting an upfront fee before providing assistance. Free resources are available at the Maryland HOPE Hotline at 1-877-462-7555. If a Maryland consumer believes they have been a victim of a scam, please contact our Office by calling 410-230-6100 or visiting the Commissioner of Financial Regulation website," said Cooley.

The Commissioner’s Office issued summary orders to cease and desist today against Clear Vision Financial and Daryl Langrine for violations of the Maryland Credit Services Business Act and against Joseph A. Gembala, III & Associates, Secure Property Solutions, LLC, Joseph A. Gembala, III, Michael J. Malone, Christopher D. Frisch, & Ernesto Raniero for violations of the Maryland Credit Services Business Act and the Protection of Homeowners in Foreclosure Act.

Along with the FTC and CFPB, attorneys general from the following states participated in today’s sweep: Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Washington and Wisconsin. Also participating were the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation and Washington Department of Financial Institutions.

AG Gansler Files Lawsuits in Joint Federal-State Mortgage Rescue Fraud Sweep