The State of Connecticut is notoriously tough on debt relief companies, This is not new. I’ve been warning companies about this for many years.
The State has just announced a new action that can serve as a learning moment for others.
Advocate Processing Services and Jonathan Michael Kelley have been issued this order.
The order states:
“Respondent is an individual doing business under the fictitious business name Advocate Processing Services, with a place of business at 22102 Bianco, Laguna Hills, California.
At all relevant times hereto, Respondent advertised and purported to offer mortgage modification services and received or expected to receive compensation in connection with those services. 9. On or about September 28, 2015, a Connecticut mortgagor (“Mortgagor”) entered into a contract purporting to authorize Respondent to represent the Mortgagor in the modification of such Mortgagor’s residential mortgage loan (“Fee Agreement”).
In connection with the Fee Agreement, the Mortgagor made an initial payment to Respondent of $998, and at least $16,986 to Respondent by automatic withdrawals from Mortgagor’s bank account between September 30, 2015 and August 1, 2016.
In connection with the Fee Agreement, the Mortgagor paid to Respondent a total of Seventeen Thousand Nine Hundred Eighty-Four Dollars ($17,984) for the purported loan modification services.
The sum the Mortgagor paid to Respondent in connection with such services is in excess of the amount that debt negotiators may charge for services related to secured debt pursuant to the Schedule of Maximum Fees established by the Commissioner on or about October 1, 2009 (“Schedule of Maximum Fees”).
The Schedule of Maximum Fees provides, in pertinent part, that “[a] debt negotiator of secured debt, including Short Sales and Foreclosure Rescue Services, may impose a fee upon the mortgagor or debtor for performing debt negotiation services not to exceed Five Hundred Dollars ($500). Such fee shall only be collectable upon the successful completion of all services stated in the debt negotiation service contract”.
At no time relevant hereto has Respondent been licensed to engage or offer to engage in debt negotiation in this state, nor did Respondent qualify for an exemption from such licensure.
In July 2016, the Mortgagor received notice regarding the initiation of foreclosure proceedings on the residential mortgage loan that Respondent had contracted with the Mortgagor to modify.
The mortgagee indicated that it had never received payment from Respondent and had no knowledge that Respondent was involved in any mortgage modification on behalf of the Mortgagor.
The Division made several attempts to contact Respondent through certified mail and e-mail correspondence, but no response has been received.”