Mortgage Relief Defendant Banned from Debt Relief Business in Settlement with FTC

Mortgage Relief Defendant Banned from Debt Relief Business in Settlement with FTC

WASHINGTON  – (RealEstateRama) — Benjamin R. Horton is banned from the debt relief business under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission for his role in a mortgage relief scheme that falsely promised financially distressed homeowners foreclosure prevention and more affordable mortgage payments.

FTC

According to the FTC, the operation typically charged consumers $3,900 in unlawful advance fees and touted a 98-100 percent success rate. The defendants, typically operating as Preferred Law PLLC, Consumer Defense LLC, or American Home Loans, allegedly used doctored government logos, falsely suggesting they were affiliated with or endorsed by the federal government’s Making Home Affordable loan modification program.

The defendants claimed to have special relationships with particular lenders and unlawfully told consumers not to make mortgage payments to, or communicate with, their lenders. Many people incurred substantial interest charges and other penalties for paying the defendants instead of their lenders, and some lost their homes to foreclosure.

In addition to banning Horton from the debt relief business, the settlement order prohibits him from misrepresenting financial or any other products and services, and from making unsubstantiated claims about any financial product or service. It also bars him from profiting from consumers’ personal information collected as part of the challenged practices.

The order imposes a judgment of more than $15.5 million that will be suspended due to Horton’s inability to pay. The full judgment will become due immediately if he is found to have misrepresented his financial condition.

Litigation continues against the remaining defendants.

The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated final order was 5-0. The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada entered the order on June 5, 2018.

For consumer information about avoiding mortgage and foreclosure rescue scams, see Mortgage Relief Scams.

NOTE: Stipulated final orders or injunctions 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.

PRESS RELEASE REFERENCE:

FTC Halts Deceptive Mortgage Loan Modification Scheme

CONTACT INFORMATION

CONTACT FOR CONSUMERS:
Consumer Response Center
877-382-4357

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STAFF CONTACT:
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Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3068

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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:

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1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)

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