• Do Not Get Tricked Into Paying For Mortgage Help

    Despite the fact that they had only owned their condo for two months, Joyce Thompson and her husband, Paul English, received what the Chicago Tribune described  as an “official-looking letter with the words ‘foreclosure sale pending’ on the envelope” with the letter including the address of their condo and an auction date. The Tribune reported on November 15, 2011, that while the letter from a company called Expert Legal Helpers warned “your home will be sold and you will be evicted from your property,” it also stated “we will have authorization to postpone the sale of your property once we are contacted.”

    When Thompson called the company, she told the Tribune that it “sounded like a boiler room – lots of people talking in the background.” She listened to a salesman’s pitch for a few minutes before hanging up, telling the Tribune she suspected it was a scam.

    Deceptive letters such as the one Thompson and English received are becoming commonplace as more and more con artists seek to take advantage of the millions of Americans needing foreclosure help . The Tribune noted that market researcher RealtyTrac found foreclosure filings rose in the third quarter, with 1 in every 213 properties nationwide facing default notice, auction or bank repossession.

    The Tribune also noted that the Federal Trade Commission enacted a rule that forbids companies from charging up-front fees for mortgage assistance, called the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule. Homeowners facing legitimate foreclosure need to know that our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer can not only provide a free initial consultation, but also help you keep your home through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • Not For Profit, But Is NHS For Fraud?

    Michael Henderson told the website Rebel Pundit that he initially went to the Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) eight years ago because the local non-profit was “featured in a number of publications as leaders in foreclosure prevention” and had been recommended by the office of then-Mayor Richard M. Daley. According to the story published on November 3, 2011, Henderson is claiming that after turning to NHS for foreclosure help , he was “the victim of the very predatory lending tactics that NHS publicly claims to help protect homeowners from.”

    Among Henderson’s charges:

    • Henderson claims that NHS inflated his income, adding rental income even though the property was a single-family residence that was gutted at the time of the loan, making it impossible to have any renters. According to Pundit, NHS put the inflated income figure on all of his loan documents. While Henderson says he was making just over $50,000 annually at the time of the loan, the income listed on his application was $5,232.12 per month, or $82,785.44 yearly. The application claimed he would receive $1,650 in monthly rent.
    • Pundit said the recorded mortgage has an inaccurate legal description which adds about 1600 square feet to the lot. That extra land includes three additional empty lots the city now owns.
    • Henderson claims that he has been unable to receive one mortgage statement or escrow analysis for the past eight years. Payoffs would routinely take months to prepare even though competitive banks can often complete them in real time.
    • According to Pundit, Henderson also charges that he was allowed to make a payment of $185.83 for four consecutive years without once being penalized as late, even though the payment amount would be a negative rate on a $352,000 loan. $185.83 happened to be the exact amount of the monthly taxes and insurance payment when the loan closed.

    The article also said that an analysis of the closing documents Henderson provided revealed numerous predatory and fraudulent entries. According to Pundit, Henderson was charged more than 4 percent in closing costs, even though the organization claims to be a non-profit.

    It is unfortunate that there remains so many predatory lenders, but homeowners hoping to avoid to foreclosure should know that our Chicago bankruptcy attorney can help you stay in your house and get control of your debt through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer