Scammer Banned from Debt and Mortgage Relief Business, Telemarketing

WASHINGTON, DC – March 16, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — Denny Lake, the final individual defendant in a mortgage modification scam aimed at financially strapped homeowners, will be banned from selling debt relief and mortgage-related products and services, and from telemarketing under a court order obtained by the Federal Trade Commission.

The court’s order granting the FTC’s request for summary judgment against Lake on all counts resolves an FTC action brought in April 2015, when the court halted the HOPE Services and HAMP Services scheme that promised consumers help getting their mortgages modified, but instead stole their mortgage payments, leading some to foreclosure and bankruptcy. The court found that Lake, doing business as JD United, Advocacy Department, Advocacy Division, and Advocacy Agency, substantially assisted HOPE Services and HAMP Services, while knowing or consciously avoiding knowing the other defendants were violating the FTC’s Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule and its Telemarketing Sales Rule.

The court wrote, “Fraud was the HOPE Defendants’ business model, and Lake knew it.  Nonetheless he continued contracting with them, continued to assist them in procuring payments from clients, and continued to refuse to inform customers about the location of their trial payments.” The court found that “no reasonable jury could conclude that Lake did not substantially assist the HOPE Defendants in carrying out their scheme.”

In addition to the banned activities, the order announced today prohibits Lake from making misrepresentations about any products or services, including financial products in particular, and from making unsubstantiated claims about any financial product unless they are non-misleading and based on reliable evidence. He also is barred from profiting from consumers’ personal information and failing to dispose of it properly. The order imposes a judgment of more than $2 million, which represents the amount of bogus mortgage payments consumers paid.

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, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

CONTACT INFORMATION

MEDIA CONTACT:
Frank Dorman
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2674

STAFF CONTACT:
Miriam Lederer
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-2975

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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:

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

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