Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced the Office sought and received a temporary restraining order shutting down East Coast Fidelity, LLC, aka Fidelity Corp., and the company’s manager Janice McCarthy, citing the company in violation of the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Mortgage Foreclosure Consultant Regulation Act. East Coast Fidelity, with a business address of 10 Dorrance Street, Providence, advertised and marketed itself to homeowners across the country as a loan modification and foreclosure rescue services provider.
Superior Court Associate Justice Sara Taft-Carter signed the order requiring that Janice McCarthy, individually, and East Coast Fidelity, LLC a/ka Fidelity Corp., as well as their employees and agents, be enjoined and restrained from doing business as mortgage foreclosure consultants, soliciting consumers with respect to mortgage modification services and in any way holding themselves out to the general public as mortgage foreclosure consultants, mortgage modification specialists, debt management servicers or any service or business transaction that is referenced in the Mortgage Foreclosure Consultant Registration Act, until further Order of the Court. The state’s motion for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for October 27, 2011.
“The law is clear in Rhode Island that the soliciting of upfront fees for loan modifications or other types of foreclosure relief, is absolutely prohibited,” said Attorney General. “As a result of these unconscionable and unscrupulous actions, homeowners, who are already desperate to save their homes are put in danger of imminent and irreparable harm. These types of scam artists are devoid of conscience in their deceptions and must be shut down.”
The Office began to investigate the company after receiving multiple consumer complaints from several states, including New York, North Carolina, and Kentucky that the company required upfront fees for mortgage modification and foreclosure services in violation of the Mortgage Foreclosure Consultant Regulation Act. Several weeks or months after signing a contract and paying the upfront fees, consumers complained of not receiving the promised services and in most cases could not get a refund from the company.
“What is of great concern is that for the few consumers who file a complaint with our office, I fear there are many more that do not know where to turn when they are scammed by a mortgage modification specialist, especially if the business is located out of state. As with the case of these complainants, who are not Rhode Island residents, we take great care to address each complaint the office receives and work closely with Attorneys General in other states for those who may be harmed by out of state businesses.”
In Rhode Island, under the Mortgage Foreclosure Consultant Registration Act it is illegal for companies to charge any fees for foreclosure assistance until consumers receive all the services for which they paid. If you are a homeowner and believe you have been a victim of a fraudulent mortgage modification individual or company, please contact the Consumer Protection Unit of the Rhode Island Office of Attorney General at 401-274-4400 or by visiting www.riag.ri.gov.