Two HOPE NOW Alliance impersonators have been targeted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and told by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey to stop falsely advertising that they are part of the government-backed coalition.
The court has also ordered the companies – New Hope Property LLC (doing business as New Hope Modifications) and Hope Now Modifications LLC – to either successfully modify the majority of their clients' mortgages as promised or refund their payments.
The FTC alleges that the defendants often divert one month's mortgage payment as a fee from distressed homeowners, fail to help them modify their mortgages, and then deny them refunds. The complaints further allege that the companies promised consumers full refunds in cases in which the consumers are not satisfied with the defendants' services, but failed to follow through with the refunds.
"With many consumers desperate for relief and afraid they might lose their homes in these difficult economic times, some unscrupulous individuals prey on these fears for their own financial gain," says FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. "The New Hope and Hope Now scammers have given consumers false hope under the guise of the government-endorsed HOPE NOW Alliance. We won't hesitate to take action against these types of con artists now and in the future."
The FTC claims the defendants advertised, marketed and sold mortgage loan modification services to consumers nationwide using Web sites, including www.newhopemodifications.com and www.hopenowmod.com.
The FTC also charged the defendants with making false claims that they are affiliated with, or part of, the HOPE NOW Alliance. Seeking to capitalize on its name, the defendants called their firms New Hope Modifications and Hope Now Modifications, and used telephone numbers that included "HOPE," to mimic the real HOPE NOW Alliance hotline, which is (888) 995-HOPE.
Hope Now Modifications principals in the complaints are Nick Puglia and Salvatore Puglia, and New Hope's principals are Brian Mammoccio and Donna Fisher. The FTC continues to seek a permanent halt to the defendants' illegal conduct.
SOURCE: Federal Trade Commission