Homeowners urged to act on foreclosures
HARRISBURG - Attorney General Tom Corbett today urged Pennsylvania homeowners to file complaints concerning questionable mortgage foreclosures as part of an ongoing investigation by the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
"Pennsylvania residents who believe they are the victims of improper foreclosures should call the Attorney General's toll-free Consumer Protection Hotline, at 1-800-441-2555, as soon as possible in order to file formal complaints," Corbett said.
He added, "We are working to identify whether our Consumer Protection Laws were violated by lenders or mortgage servicing companies that may have failed to follow proper procedures regarding foreclosures."
Corbett explained that the Pennsylvania investigation was triggered by allegations about potentially flawed foreclosure practices involving numerous financial institutions across the country.
Corbett said the Attorney General's Office is in communication with other state agencies concerning possible foreclosure-related problems in Pennsylvania, including the Department of Banking, along with other Attorneys General who are conducting similar reviews of foreclosure practices in their states.
In addition to filing a complaint with the Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection, Corbett also recommended that homeowners who have received foreclosure notices should contact the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) for information about emergency mortgage assistance, foreclosure mitigation counseling and other services that may be available.
Consumers can call PHFA directly at 1-800-822-1174, or review detailed information about mortgage and foreclosure assistance services on the PHFA website.
Corbett noted that the Attorney General's Office has placed a major emphasis on foreclosure-related investigations, which have resulted in numerous legal actions, including:
• More than $150 million in relief for Pennsylvania homeowners as part of a settlement with Countrywide Financial Corporation.
• $10.7 million returned to PA consumers as part of a predatory lending investigation involving Ameriquest Mortgage Company.
• A $2.3 million consumer protection judgment in a Pittsburgh area real estate and mortgage fraud case.
• Civil lawsuits against nine individuals accused of participating in a $40 million mortgage investment "Ponzi" scheme.
• Consumer protection lawsuits against deceptive "mortgage rescue" businesses.