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Mortgage Modification Attorney Gets Her Day in Court. Ouch!

Pamela Stacey Gerber-Gressier gets to spend many days in court after being sued by the State Bar of California.

PSGG has been the subject in a number of mortgage modification stories over the years. See here and here.

She’s also been associated with The Remedy Group, Remedy Law, Prudent Law, and Prudential Law to name a few. All of these outfits were selling consumers mortgage modification help or saying they could sue mortgage lenders and win big, for an advance fee.

The topic of Pamela was even the subject of Apparent Pamela Gressier – Prudent Law Fan – Not Happy With GetOutOfDebt.org.

As I said then:

What makes this particular episode interesting is that it seems illogical to attack me or this site for the posts submitted by readers and the one post in which I gave advice. When these episodes happen it makes me and others wonder if the strategy is to attack rather than resolve the consumer issues with the company.

Wouldn’t it be a much smarter approach for the attorney and/or company to respond in a positive way to consumer complaints to show how exceptional their customer service can be and that they care about their customers? Surely that would attract more potential new clients.

Attacks like this one against the site make me wonder if there isn’t something more that we don’t know. When you can’t attack the message, attack the messenger I guess.

As I said to the attacking Twitter user:

@jimcaronartist What harassment and false reviews? Can you point to a specific example please.

There has been no response to that message.

Back to the Present

The State Bar of California alleges and states the following in their June 28, 2013 complaint.

Between in or about June 2011 and in or about November 2011, Respondent’s law firm was named Prudential Law Group (“Prudential”).

In or about November 2011, Respondent changed her law firm’s name from Prudential to Prudent Law Group (“Prudent”).

In or about May 2012, Respondent changed her law firm’s name from Prudent to Remedy Center Law Associates (“Remedy”). To date, Respondent continues to operate her law firm under the name Remedy

The Bar then presents 108 counts of charges against her, including:

By engaging in a pattern of: allowing non-attorneys to determine and advise prospective clients whether they qualify for a mortgage loan modification; allowing nonattorneys to determine whether to accept clients on behalf of Respondent; allowing non-attorneys to determine the amount of legal fees to charge clients; holding herself out as entitled to practice law in jurisdictions where she is not entitled to practice law; collecting illegal fees from clients in jurisdictions where she is not licensed to practice law; improperly soliciting clients, and failing to refund unearned fees, Respondent committed acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty or corruption.

The Mailer

One of the issues in the State Bar case surrounded a mailer I covered in this post. You can see it below.

Mortgage Modification Attorney Gets Her Day in Court. Ouch!

Mortgage Modification Attorney Gets Her Day in Court. Ouch!

The Bar count about the mailer says:

“Respondent willfully violated Rule of Professional Conduct, rule 1-400, by delivering, or causing to be delivered, a communication seeking professional employment for pecuniary gain, which was transmitted by mail or equivalent means, which did not bear the word “Advertisement,” “Newsletter,” or words of similar import in 12 point print on the first page, was presented or arranged in a matter or format which tended to confuse, deceive or mislead the public, contained untrue statements, and did not state the name of the member responsible for the communication, as follows:

From in or about 2011 through in or about 2012, Respondent delivered, or caused to be delivered, communications transmitted by mail to Bishop, Herskowitz, Haverly, Danskin, Torres, Amstutz, Dohmen, the Perrys, Soares, Walker, Herrera, Figueroa, the Thomases, Heyen, Graddy, Brandano, Ransom, Wilkins, Achuko, Benson, Choate, Devreaux, Hughart, McFerren, and Daniel, to their respective residences outside of California. The communication was an advertisement mailer seeking to entice these prospective clients to employ Respondent to provide legal services in the form of mortgage loan modification services of their respective home mortgages. The communications did not bear the words “Advertisement,” “Newsletter,” or words of similar import, in 12 point print on the first page.

The mailer was presented or arranged in a format that made it appear as if it was sent by the addressees’ respective mortgage holders~ The front page of the mailer stated, “Payment Reduction Notification” and “IMPORTANT ON FILE INFORMATION REGARDING YOUR LOAN WITH [RESPECTIVE BANK NAME].” The second page states “Payment Reduction Status PENDING REVIEW” and “Modification Program.” It also contains a “Personal ID Number, …. ID Number,” and “Code” number intended to make the mailer appear like a personalized official bank document to and to confuse, deceive, or mislead the recipients.

The mailer stated, “We have reviewed your property information and have determined that you may be eligible to modify the current terms of your mortgage.” There was no legitimate basis for the claim since Respondent had not reviewed the recipients’ respective mortgages. The claim was at the very least misleading, if not, false.

The mailer stated, “This offer is good for 30 days from the above date and is subject to certain conditions. No other notice will be issued and no phone calls will be made to you.” This claim was at the very least misleading, if not, false because there was no legitimate reason to claim that the mailer had an expiration date.

The mailer did not state Respondent’s name, any of her law firm’s names, or Respondent’s address. The mailer did not contain the name of any person or entity responsible for sending the mailer.

By the foregoing conduct, Respondent delivered, or caused to be delivered, a communication seeking professional employment for pecuniary gain, which was transmitted by mail or equivalent means.”

That’s just the State Bar way of saying the mailer was bullshit, which it was.

What Blows My Mind

It just blows my mind that a licensed attorney would ever consider participating in such operations which just appeared to screw over consumers. But it appears they do, time-after-time.

A big sticking point for me is the lack of issuing consumers refund when services were not provided. What’s the point unless it was all a scam to begin with and the point was to separate the consumer from their money.

“To date, Respondent has not refunded any portion of the $3,995 in illegal, unearned, attorney’ s fees that Hughart paid Respondent.

By failing to provide Hughart with a refund of illegal, unearned attorney’s fees, Respondent failed to refund promptly any part of a fee paid in advance that has not been earned.”

No matter what happens now, this isn’t going to end well for anyone.

Always so sad.

You can read the full novel of a lawsuit against PSGG, here.

Mortgage Modification Attorney Gets Her Day in Court. Ouch!
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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.
  • Richard Elie

    Two years ago I wrote about a mailer I received and warned about what might happen to Pamela Stacey Gerber-Gressier if she was actually behind the mailer campaigns and wondered out loud if she had merely been sucked into this scheme or was behind it.

    http://getoutofdebt.org/32473/prudential-law-group-scam-report-11-23-2011

    I had also thought for certain she would end up in trouble with the California Bar and sure enough they went after her.

    Its sad because so many lawyers, many good lawyers, are sucked into these schemes. I get that people are in trouble and they need help with their mortgages. No question about that part. And lawyers are there to help the clients, legitimately of course. But this kind of mass-production scheme with mass-mailers that are deceptive and misleading, can only lead to trouble for the clients and the lawyers.

    I have some sympathy for Ms. Gerber-Gressier as she had been in practice for many years before getting involved in a scheme like this. But I also have to say I have significantly less sympathy for her when I happen to have been the targeted recipient of one of her mailers. I found it disturbing, and it took way too much time to track down who sent it, just to figure out what kind of service was being offered; only to find out that she did not have the legal authority to act on my behalf in the first place. As a lawyer I’m surprised and dismayed.

    However, I also happen to believe there’s a back-story to this. Experienced lawyers don’t get involved in schemes like this without someone convincing them they can legally turn straw into gold. Someone else was behind this.

    I am wondering out loud, again, if marketers were the driving force behind this scheme. For a long time I have been itching to really sue the marketers for all of this, not just the lawyers.

    Legal Helpers/Mortgage Modification Law Group and a host of others use high-impact, high-pressure marketers like Steve Vanderhoof and others in the industry to pressure people into believing they can be helped. Honestly I think lawyers can help, and do help, but not on the mass-marketing scale that’s being offered in these mailers. And that’s where my respect for Ms. Gressier erodes.

    So on the one hand I do have some sympathy for her but on the other hand I don’t.

    I do hope that all of you out here reading about her misery understand that lawyers can be duped by slick marketers just as well as any potential consumer/client can be duped into hiring lawyers in schemes like this.

    I would caution lawyers out there not to get involved with any marketers period. Promote your law firm in bar-approved and traditional ways and you won’t end up with clients being fleeced. And please remember that the marketers usually get the most of the money paid up-front in these schemes. That’s why the lawyers want an advance-fee before they get into a case to begin with, in order to pay the marketers for the leads.

    Mass mailers cost millions of dollars to send out. Its likely that the mass-mailer used by Ms. Gessier funneled leads to the marketer who then sold the leads to her and probably hundreds of other law firms and real estate/mortgage brokers out there. That’s why there was no return address. The toll-free number went to the lead generator who preliminarily screened potential clients, and then forwarded them to the marketer who sold the lead to the lawyer.

    Just remember that when you read this article and read about people getting mass mailers. When you call that toll free number you are not talking to any law firm. You’re entering a funnel that’s run by other people who monetize your call and sell it all the way to the end-user who COULD be Ms. Gessier or any other lawyer that pays for the leads.

    If I were to lay odds down on this one, Ms. Gessier probably paid virtually all of her up-front fee to the marketer who referred the client to her. That’s an illegal business practice and runs afoul of the running and capping laws across the country.

  • SamaraM

    Steve-if I wanted to reach out to the Lawyers who prosecuted Pamela, do you know who they are? I so wish I read your articles before I got scammed into sending money to this firm too, #havingabadday…

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