Court Finds Defendants Lied to Consumers When Selling Legal Services for Mortgage Relief

Falsely claimed ‘mass joinder’ lawsuits would void mortgage or get consumers $75,000 cash

WASHINGTON – (RealEstateRama) — A federal court has found that Jeremy Foti and Charles Marshall, acting through Brookstone Law and Advantis Law, “made numerous false and/or misleading material statements to consumers” when selling legal services for purported mortgage relief.

The court found that Foti and Marshall controlled or participated in the scheme, knew they were deceiving consumers, and illegally took more than $18 million from them. The FTC has asked the court to impose monetary judgments on them and ban them from any debt relief activities in the future.

The court found that the defendants falsely told homeowners they could get “at least $75,000” or their homes “free and clear” through so-called mass joinder lawsuits against their mortgagors. These suits combined hundreds of consumers in the same matter; however, unlike class-action lawsuits, in the event of trial each plaintiff in a mass joinder suit would have to prove his or her case separately. The defendants had never prevailed in such a suit.

As a result of the court’s decision, litigation against all of the defendants in this matter has now been resolved. Earlier this year, Vito Torchia and R. Geoffrey Broderick stipulated to orders banning them from debt relief work in the future, including a judgment of almost $2 million against Broderick. Damian Kutzner and Jonathan Tarkowski also stipulated to orders, with Kutzner agreeing to a judgment of more than $18 million.

The Commission votes approving the stipulated final orders against Kutzner, Tarkowski, Torchia and Broderick were unanimous. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California entered orders against Kutzner on January 9, 2017, Tarkowski on January 9, 2017, Torchia on February 15, 2016, Broderick on April 14, 2017, Brookstone and Advantis on August 28, 2017, and Foti and Marshall on September 5, 2017.

NOTE: Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook(link is external), follow us on Twitter(link is external), read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

FTC Halts California Based Mortgage Relief Scam

CONTACT INFORMATION

MEDIA CONTACT:
">Frank Dorman(link sends e-mail)
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2674

STAFF CONTACT:
Benjamin Theisman
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-2223

SHARE
Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) deals with issues that touch the economic life of every American. It is the only federal agency with both consumer protection and competition jurisdiction in broad sectors of the economy.

The FTC pursues vigorous and effective law enforcement; advances consumers’ interests by sharing its expertise with federal and state legislatures and U.S. and international government agencies; develops policy and research tools through hearings, workshops, and conferences; and creates practical and plain-language educational programs for consumers and businesses in a global marketplace with constantly changing technologies.

Contact:

202-326-3224
1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)

Previous articleSpeaker Ryan Surveys Hurricane Damage in Florida, Vows Full Commitment to Rebuilding
Next articleHUD AWARDS $4 MILLION TO EAST CHICAGO HOUSING AUTHORITY FOR DEMOLITION OF LEAD-SURROUNDED HOUSING COMPLEX