State Attorney General files suit against two foreclosure scammers
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent December 17, 2012 5:14PM
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller talks with the media outside the Government Complex, in Crown Point, after filing a civil lawsuit against a former court clerk on Tuesday, October 4, 2011. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 17, 2012 10:45PM
CROWN POINT — Greg Zoeller, Indiana attorney general, said the state will not tolerate companies who take advantage of homeowners facing foreclosure.
Monday Zoeller filed lawsuits in Lake County Circuit Court against two out-of-state foreclosure consultant companies after they allegedly took $2,600 from local homeowners and didn’t provide services or refunds.
“What we are really talking about is two homeowners who lost the opportunity to get legitimate help,” Zoeller said. “Both of these people were robbed of the opportunity to get legitimate help with their mortgage.
Zoeller said Blue Chip Group Inc. of Nevada and Certified Legal Processing and Legal Preparation Services of California violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act by taking money up front from homeowners, which is not allowed. Both companies also did not register the $25,000 surety bonds with the Attorney General’s office required before services of this nature can be provided.
Blue Chip Group and its owner William Damiter contracted with two residents from Lake and Spencer counties and charged up-front fees for foreclosure consultant services. Certified Processing and Legal Preparation Services and Its owner Shaun Lambert are accused of collecting up front fees from a Porter County resident for the same services.
He expects to learn of more victims who were scammed by these two companies once word of the suit spreads. Zoeller said so far his office has brought suit against more than 30 companies for taking advantage homeowners in crisis and facing foreclosure.
“We need to warn people, don’t be scammed by someone offering support,” Zoeller said.
Homeowners need to know it is illegal for foreclosure consultant companies to take money up front. Zoeller said the mortgage assistance these companies are purporting to offer clients is the same mortgage assistance for homeowners in financial crisis that is available for free.
“The biggest read flag is if they ask for money up front,” Zoeller said.
Homeowners falling behind on their mortgages should check with their banks for about what programs may be available to them. If the foreclosure process has begun homeowners should call (877) GET-HOPE to see if they qualify for assistance, he added.