They call themselves the National Legal Help Center. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) alleges they were out to help themselves and fool homeowners about mortgage modifications.
The California business run by Najia Jalan and Richard K. Nelson targeted homeowners in 50 states. According to the CFPB, National Legal Help Center falsely claimed it would give legal assistance even though the defendants aren’t lawyers and didn’t actually provide legal help.
They charged a fee and promised to help homeowners get benefits from government-affiliated programs, including the recent nationwide mortgage servicing settlement between state attorneys general and the federal government, and the five largest mortgage servicers.
The CFPB says, “Defendants also falsely claimed that they were associated with the Independent Foreclosure Review program overseen by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve. In reality, the defendants were not affiliated with either of the programs or in a position to provide the promised benefits to consumers.”
The CFPB got a restraining order against the company, essentially shutting down the operation until the case works its way through the courts.
The bureau also took action against the California based Gordon Law Firm, which targeted consumers in 25 states. The CFPB says, “The defendants allegedly gained homeowners’ trust by using Gordon’s “law firm” status and led consumers to believe that a law firm was working with their banks and mortgage companies to modify mortgage loans or provide foreclosure relief, while the defendants typically failed to deliver relief.”