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Law Enforcement Raids Offices of Law Firm Suspected of Loan Modification Fraud

March 18, 2010

Our Glendora loan modification attorneys were pleased to see that a half dozen law enforcement agencies joined forces to put a stop to alleged fraud against homeowners desperate for a loan modification. According to a March 11 article from the Orange County Register, representatives from seven different agencies shut down and combed through the offices of United Law Group in Irvine. The law firm is suspected of taking thousands of dollars from clients up front without doing anything to help them get a loan modification. Local agencies included the OC District Attorney's office and the Irvine and Newport Beach Police Departments; federal representatives included the FBI, the Postal Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Inspector General of TARP (the bailout plan).

The State of California made it illegal last year for anyone but an attorney to collect up-front fees for loan modifications, after numerous fraudsters took money from desperate homeowners and simply stopped returning their phone calls. This rule does not apply to United Law Group, a law firm, but the allegations against the firm are very similar. An affidavit submitted in support of the search warrant said United Law Group routinely collected $1,500 to $12,000 in retainers from loan modification clients before starting work. The affidavit said investigators couldn't find any cases of successfully modified loans, beyond the ones the law firm used for advertising.

The article noted that United Law Group was already in trouble with the State Bar of California, which regulates attorneys. One of the firm's two publicly acknowledged attorneys, Sean Ruteledge, was disciplined by the State Bar last July for taking $1,750 from a client and making no effort to modify her loan. Public records for the other attorney, Robert Buscho, show that he is currently an active member of the State Bar, but has been disciplined three times and once failed to pass a professional ethics exam. In his first disciplinary action, he was accused of taking a client's up-front retainer and failing to file one of the legal actions she hired him to file.

As ethical Anaheim loan modification lawyers, we are pleased by strong legal action against attorneys suspected of things that give our profession a bad name. By the time most of our loan modification clients come to us, they are under major personal and financial stress. People don't always look as closely as they should when they're under stress, and unethical people can take advantage of that. By promising things they don't intend to deliver, fraudulent loan modification companies take advantage of people's trust. They also rob literally rob troubled homeowners of money they probably cannot spare -- money they could use to get real help, make payments on a modified loan or secure rental housing.

Howard Law PC represents people in Orange County and throughout California who need help negotiating a real loan modification. We are not a fly-by-night loan modification company or a "law firm" staffed by one or two brand-new attorneys; we are a law firm that has been in business for several years in Southern California. Our Oceanside loan modification lawyers are proud of our clean disciplinary records and would be happy to provide examples of past success stories. We cannot promise that every client will get a loan modification, but we can promise that we will work our hardest to secure one, filing lawsuits whenever necessary to get the lender's attention and protect our clients' rights.

If you're struggling to get a straight answer from your lender about a loan modification, you should call Howard Law to see how we can help. We offer free, confidential case evaluations. To learn more, please send us an email through our site or call 1-800-872-5925.