January 4, 2012 – Update: See letter from the attorney of Robert Prado at bottom of post and the statement and states that “ACAG has no affiliation with Denny Lake.”
My wife and I have been searching for a good loan modification firm for about 3 months and we have been contacted by several companies by phone, mail and letters but recently we had spoken to this company America’s consumer advocacy group.
We spoke to Mr. Prada he was very informative and answered all our questions but he mentioned a coworker who handle our file and speak to our a Mr. Denny Lake we wanted to be clear on who was handling our file.
Over the last few days I researched mr. Lake and found out he has headed up some other very questionable firms like Kassas law group and 2 or 3 others I’m reluctent to do business with these guys now. Can you provide a clear path to what might be going on here? I’m just reaching out to you because you have done some great work . Can you also let us know if you know any good loan modification firms in Orange County Ca please.
The name Denny Lake was part of another article on this site. See Mass Joinder Receiver Report States What They Found During Raid.
I have no knowledge that it is the same Denny Lake. But frankly I would not be too shocked if it was. In my experience, salespeople in the debt relief world tend to stick to what they know best and when one outfit gets shutdown, they move to another and continue the same sales pitch.
A visit to the America’s Consumer Advocacy Group site showed some of the concerning activities from before like the sale of the NPV/REST Reports. See Mortgage Problems? Facing Foreclosure? Prepare to be Scammed.
Their website also sets off a number of alarms for me. For example, there is no information about who is really behind this company or their physical location.
As you can see above, the About Us page is currently under construction? Really?
The website is owned by a Robert Prado, 12521 Carmel Way, Santa Ana, California 92705. According to the State Bar of California, Robert Prado is not an attorney licensed in California.
The State of California lists a company named America’s Consumer Advocacy Group at 7755 Center Street, Suite 1100, Huntington Beach, CA 92647. The company has no known officers.
Before you leap for whatever magical sales pitch this company might be delivering I suggest you do three things. The first is to listen to my recent podcast below.
I would recommend that anyone considering using such a company should read the following two guides.
- The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Checking Out a Debt Relief Company Before You Sign On the Line
- How to Check Out a Business or Company to Avoid Getting Scammed or Ripped Off
Even the link on their own website takes you to the following warning message.
Consumers Alert: These reviews have been duplicated by an individual copying them from different sites and posting those reviews within this site the names of the employees or owner(s) are suspicious please Google Denny Lake. You will notice he was involved with Mesa Law Group, Law Offices of Anthony Kassas these firms were shut down for loan modification scams and mass joiner scam take note that now other new firms have surfaced National Advocacy Law Center, Fieldstone Law, Consumer Law Center and many more are tied to Mr. Lake . Now this new firm Americas Consumer Advocacy Group comes up? Research the information provided here and do your leg work as I did there are different names and addresses it is allsuspicious . You should always contact your bank or a reputable attorney who does loan modifications any company with the word ” Advocacy” is generally a scam when doing business in the loan modification arena. Loan modifications are not viewed as a ethical practice please read California Senate Bill SB 94 firms are not to collect any advanced fees that includes lawyers as well and they can’t call it a retainer ether it’s not legal. Please contact HUD or your lender do not spend money to have some firm package your paper work do it yourself. I almost hired these guys until I researched them I went and uncovered a can of worms now I do not know any of these people but the information I found on the net was not favorable at all. Ted Paxton Loma Linda, Ca– Source
Update: January 4, 2012 – The comment above has since been removed from the TrustLink website and we have struck it out.
The commenter above does make a very valid point about California having laws that prevent consumers from being charged in advance for mortgage help. In additional the FTC has the MARS Rule (Mortgage Assistance Relief Services) that makes it illegal as well.
Before you do anything I would urge you to contact a HUD Housing Counselor for free and/or review your situation with a local real estate attorney that is licensed in your state.
Watch out! Be Careful!
Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.
Update January 4, 2012
We have received the following letter from the attorney of Robert Prado.
Our responses are in these type of quotes.
I have been retained by Robert Prado (” Client” ), the owner of America’s Consumer Advocacy Group, to bring legal action for defamation stemming from false statements you published in your Get Out of Debt Guy website, and specifically in the article entitled Can I Trust Consumer Advocacy Group and Denny Lake? In order to avoid impending litigation, we ask that you cease and desist the publishing of the false information (described more fully below) and issue a retraction on the same website. If you fail to do these two things, we will file a legal action and seek damages.
The false statements in your article are as follows:
1) ACAG is associated with Denny Lake, National Advocacy Law Center, Fieldstone Law, and Consumer Law Center. ACAG has no affiliation with Denny Lake, or any of the other people or companies listed on your webpage. No one at ACAG has met or spoken with any of these people or companies.
We never said he was. We were answering the concerns of the reader who said they dealt with a Denny Lake. If the reader is in error and you wish to pursue the reader, you have the right to pursue them for defamation.
2) ACAG’s sale of NPV reports is “concerning.” There is nothing “concerning” about NPV reports. In fact they are highly advisable because NPV reports are the only way for a homeowner to independently verify whether a bank is telling the truth when it declares that a homeowner does not qualify for government programs. In exchange for billions, the banks promised to give loans to homeowners who qualify, but they avoid their end of the bargain by falsely telling homeowners they do not qualify. Without professional assistance, how would a homeowner know otherwise? NPV reports “concerning,” no without them, the homeowner does not know if the bank is lying to them.
The marketing of NPV reports is concerning because in the past other outfits have sold similar types of reports to consumers for large advance fees. We link to an outside guest post that talks about these concerns. It does not appear that the cosnumer was directed to the free NPV tool provided by the United States Department of the Treasury at checkmynpv.com.
3) “Any company with the word ‘advocacy’ is generally a scam…loan modifications are not viewed as an ethical practice.” Loan modification assistance is not unethical or illegal in California. The banks, for the reason stated above, have tried to make it illegal by imposing draconian regulations. And ACAG is not a scam, it has helped many homeowners save their homes, and it has the testimonials to prove it. Moreover, in over two years of business, ACAG has never had one complaint filed against it, which is quite a feat in this environment.
We never said the quote you mention. We do however source that as a quote from the site listed and sourced from a link to TrustLink on the ACAG site.
4) “The commenter above does make a valid point about California having laws that prevent consumers from being charged in advance for mortgage help.” Since ACAG does not charge advance fees, this is defamation.
We never said ACAG charged advance fees. Our warning was about the charging of advance fees. California does have laws about the charging of advance fees.
5) “Now this new firm America Consumers Advocacy Group comes up?” ACAG has no relationship with any of the law firms referenced in the sentence before this one.
We never said the quote you mention. We do however source that as a quote from the site listed and sourced from a link to TrustLink on the ACAG site.
6) “Watch out!” Enough said.
Alright, watch out, be carful, be prudent, do your homework, check out the company, etc. We didn’t say not to use the company, we said to watch out as in “be careful and prudent.” I’ve changed it to Be Careful and linked to our guide on how to check out a company which contains information similar to the podcast and links included in the post that you did not object to.
7) Robert Prado’s Home Address. Would you like ACAG to publish your home address on the internet? My client is a family man with a wife and two small children. He and they should not have to be harassed because you falsely allege that he is a dishonest man who rips people off.
First off, we never made any such allegation or statement that Robert Prado is a dishonest man that rips people off.
Second, the address published is the address listed as the business address associated with the domain name and available to all internet users.
It’s information apparently he or someone else made available to all internet users and there is no indication that it is a home address and we had no idea he would use his home address. Why would he publicly use his home address if he was so concerned?
Here is the public record as it appears at this moment.
In California, the lenders have passed legislation under the guise of protecting homeowners, which by design have left the California homeowner defenseless by stripping them of professional advice from lawyers, brokers, real estate agents, and loan modification/foreclosure specialists. So the banks — the mightiest entities on the planet — go up against the humble homeowners without any professional assistance. Guess who wins? If you believe the homeowner is best protected when they stand alone against the banks, then continue writing what you are writing in the name of protecting the owner. If, however, you believe the homeowner is entitled to professional advice, then you should reconsider you attack on my Client.
Homeowners should absolutely get professional advice. I always encourage readers to get professional advice. Are you the attorney behind the firm helping homeowners? Can they contact you directly? If so, people should feel free to contact you.
There are two ways to view you, either as a gentleman who is truly interested in helping the homeowner, or you are a front for the banking industry, discrediting reputable companies trying to help homeowners save their homes. Given that 1) your articles say nothing good about professionals who help homeowners, 2) advises homeowners that the solution is to talk the very banks who are taking their homes, and 3) did not ask for comment by ACAG to confirm your allegations, I tend to believe you are the latter.
We made no allegations that needed to be confirmed or facts that were not linked to the sources.
During this past year and a half, I have had numerous meetings with Robert Prado and have personally witnessed his commitment to helping homeowners keep their homes. On several occasions I witnessed him extend services far beyond what he was offered or required. Mr. Prado has character and is the real deal for homeowners. He cannot promise, and does not promise, miracles, but he does his best to get his bank-rejected clients approved.
If it is true that you write to help homeowners, then you must also agree that you do your readers a disservice when you steer them away from a company that is truly committed to helping homeowners save their homes. If you wish to know more about my Client and the good work of ACAG, my client and I would be more than willing to talk to you.
You and your client are more than welcome to submit any statement you want to describe the services you offer. There is nothing holding you back from doing that. In fact we even have a free service for companies to submit press releases for publication.
We even publish a free guide for how companies can best deal with consumer unhappiness. See How to Handle a Consumer Complaint Like a Pro And Come Out Smelling Like a Rose
We even have a button on the left side of every story for people to use to instantly report any information that may be in error.
As of this moment the ACAG website has still not addressed some of the concerns that we wrote about in the original article. “Their website also sets off a number of alarms for me. For example, there is no information about who is really behind this company or their physical location.”
But be forewarned, you now have more than sufficient evidence before you such that a continued publication of the aforementioned defamation will meet the defamation standard of actual malice and/or reckless disregard of the truth. Moreover, you should know that under California law, a person may be held liable for negative inferences as well as direct false statements, and for republishing the false statements of another.
You don’t seem to address any facts that we specifically write that are wrong or untrue. The objection seems to be at the words of others. In fact the reader did say “We spoke to Mr. Prada he was very informative and answered all our questions…”
Therefore, for the sake of everyone, please remove the defamation, or we will file suit.
Interestingly enough the ACAG site still links to the TrustLink site that still makes a statement about an association with Denny Lake.
I had been trying for 1 and 1/2 years with Ocwen and was $95,000 behind. They had offered me a forbearance agreement that RAISED my payment that’s when I hired America’s Consumer Advocacy Group.
America’s Consumer Advocacy Group ran a REST Report and I got a PASS. Denny Lake developed the strategy and put together the letters and complaints and they were sent to me on November 15th, and I sent them out on November 17th. I received a call from the executive office within about 5 days and got a PERMANENT MODIFICATION on December 6th.
Principal reduction of $163,000
Rate of 3.4% fixed for 25 years
Payment with escrows $4100
Old payment with escrow $6400
A savings of $2300 a month plus $163,000 in principal reduction achieved in approximately 3 weeks. The lender pretty much went off of the REST Report in putting together the offer. – Source
KENNINGERE & MENDOZA
John Mendoza, Esq. – Source
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