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Is Credence Law Group a Legit Company or a Scam? – John

“Dear Steve,

I have been approved for a loan modification thru Credence Law Group. They are now asking for $3600.00 fees. They say they are sending paperwork and contracts for me to sign tomorrow.

I need to know if this company is legit? I have nothing in hand to confirm that I am approved. What can you tell me about Credence Law Group?? Please help, what should I do.

Is Credence Law Group a legit Company or a scam.

John”

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The Answer

Dear John,

I always hate the scam question because I never know what the the individuals definition is of a scam.

Here is what I can share with you for you to make your own decision.

The domain name they use credencelawgroup.com. That domain was only registered on August 27, 2012. The domain ownership is hidden. They actually maintain the same website on two servers. The other is credenslawgroup.com.

Some of the attorneys that are listed on their website have been affiliated with other mortgage modification outfits.

The attorneys are Byron Landau, Laurie McFarland, Stephen Knight, Andrew Steele, Daniel Ruggierro, Maxwell Cohen, Ami Rooney, Akbar Asharia, Laurie McFarland, and Jeremy Hudia.

The address they list is:

180 N. Stetson Ave.
Suite #3500
Chicago, IL 60601 – Source

Is Credence Law Group a Legit Company or a Scam?   JohnThat happens to be a virtual office space at a Regus office. – Source

I’m not saying that having a virtual office is a “scam,” I’m just saying that it might make one look further into the company to better understand how stable they are.

According to the Credence Law Group website the lead attorney is Byron L. Landau. According to his State Bar of California listing he is actually not located in Illinois but in California at:

Landau Law Group
2580 Red Hill Ave
Suite 250
Santa Ana, CA 92705

He does have a past history of disciplinary action and was suspend to practice law in California in 2008. (9/26/2008 Discipline w/actual suspension 05-O-02141 Not Eligible To Practice Law ) – Source

So the logical question is why is a lawyer headquartered in California running a virtual office in Illinois?

Even the State of Illinois says he is primarily located in California.

He has some periods of suspension there as well. – Source

All of those things make me want to know more. If they do you, then follow my guides below to continue checking them out.

I would recommend that anyone considering using such a company should read the following free guides.

  1. The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Checking Out a Debt Relief Company Before You Sign On the Line
  2. How to Check Out a Business or Company to Avoid Getting Scammed or Ripped Off

One item you should become familiar with is the Federal Trade Commission Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule. Under that rule the FTC states consumers should not be charged before a final modification agreement is reached with the lender.

A mortgage assistance relief company may not collect a fee until the consumer has signed a written agreement with the lender that includes the relief obtained by the company.

While you said you had been “approved for a loan modification” I seriously doubt that. What I think they mean is they have qualified you to sell you a service.

If they send you paperwork and a contract and you’d like for me to review it for you, you can submit it here.

There are a number of things you can do for free to seek a mortgage modification and free help is available for a HUD Housing Counselors, see my links below.

Finally, if you decide you do want to move forward with Credence Law Group and hire them to do the paperwork for you, make sure you speak to the attorney that is licensed in your state who will represent you before you give them any money. It’s important to make sure you discuss your case with them and like them.

Mortgage Help

Be sure to first read How Not to Get Scammed by a Mortgage Loan Modification Company.

Debt-to-Income Calculator

First you’ll need to determine your current debt-to-income ratio. The target debt-to-income ratio under the Home Affordable Modification program is 31%. Use this free online DTI calculator.

Mortgage Modification Calculator

The mortgage modification eligibility calculator will ask you several questions and then show you which programs you may be eligible for.

The free mortgage modification calculator can be found here.

Free Mortgage Modification Help and Counseling

If you have questions about the process or eligibility you can call 888-995-4673 and get connected with an mortgage modification adviser for free. This help is provided by government subsidized HUD Housing Counselors and they can be a big help in navigating the modification process.

In order to assist you, the housing expert will need to gather some information from you. Have the following documents handy:

  • Information about your first mortgage, such as your monthly mortgage statement.
  • Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on the house.
  • Information about the monthly gross (before tax) income of all household members contributing to pay the mortgage, including recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources.
  • Information about your savings and other assets.
  • Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards.
  • Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans and car loans.
  • Your most recent income tax return.
  • It may also be helpful to have: A letter describing any circumstances that caused your income to be reduced or expenses to be increased (job loss, divorce, illness, etc.), if applicable.

You can also get free help and housing counseling from a local HUD approved counselor. You can find your local free housing counselor, here.

Contact Your Mortgage Company

Not sure if your mortgage company offers modification programs? Not all do. You can contact your mortgage company to ask them about mortgage modification programs you might be eligible for. Click here to find your mortgage company.

NPV Calculator

Want to know the net present value (NPV) of your home for the mortgage modification process? No problem, use the free NPV calculator to find out. The NPV calculator is right here.

The calculator can be used by homeowners who have been denied a HAMP modification because of their NPV result or can also be used by homeowners prior to applying for a HAMP modification to help them better understand the NPV evaluation.

No Advance Fees

The Federal Trade Commission has a Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule which prohibits advance fees for mortgage rescue services or mortgage modification help.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Big Hug!

Is Credence Law Group a Legit Company or a Scam?   John
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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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