Liberty Law Firm in California. Is It Brian Colombana, Esq. or American Financial Modifications?

I’m curious if anyone has used the loan modification services of a company that was called American Financial Modifications and they are now called Liberty Law. – Source

Here is what I know so far.

There are two sites for California companies that say they are Liberty Law Firm. See llfirm.net (source) and libertyfirm.org (source).

The toll-free number for American Financial Modifications and one of the Liberty Law Firm sites is the same, 866-868-3090.

llfirm.net
llfirm.net

LibertyFirm.org
LibertyFirm.org

LibertyFirm.org was created September 3, 2009

llfirm.net was created October 30, 2009 and is registered to:
Berke Brown [email protected]
17 Goodyear suite 125
Irvine, California 92618

The rumor I’ve heard, and I stress this is just a rumor, is that Liberty Law Firm is charging fees up-front for loan modification services. Normally I would not print an unconfirmed rumor but complaints to the BBB seems to support the allegation.

The BBB gives Liberty Law Firm and F rating. – Source

Complainants allege unfulfilled contracts. Customers complain the company charges large advance fees for loan modifications, but fail to provide the services as agreed. Some complainants allege the company failed to contact their lenders at all. Other customers complain after paying the advance fee, the company failed to communicate with them. The company responds to complaints by stating they are working with the customer, or alleging the customer received services paid for. Additionally, the company alleges modifications were received, refunds were issued or the company issued partial refunds.

The only attorney I could find that was tied to a Liberty Law Firm was a Brian J. Colombana. He is related to LibertyFirm.org through the BBB listing. – Source. And according to this online complaint he is or was also associated with Mortgage Relief Law Center (source) and Housing Law Center (source).

Apparently Brian Colombana was also the owner of Colombana Financial, Inc and Fast Pace Funding. These entities were shut down by the State of California in May 2009 and the California Finance Lenders License was revoked (source) and the corproation is now suspended.

Colombana Financial, Inc.

I asked Brian about the up-front fees, if he was the attorney for Liberty Law and American Financial Modifications.

He said, “I am an attorney of record for Liberty Law Firm. We have a few others as well. We were never known as American Financial Modifications though. I’ve never heard of them. No one that comes in our office pays anything up front. Well, forensic audits are billed up front but not modification work. We actually do a great deal of work while the client is in our office that we might bill for. But that work was already completed.

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For instance, a client may come in for a modification and we’ll go over their whole situation and prepare a case for the lender. Then we’ll call the lender while the client is there and try to work out a trial modification over the phone. Sounds simple but if often takes several hours. If we are successful in getting them a trial modification over the phone, then they would pay us $995. If not, we could put the package together for them and they would pay for that. But it’s always after we do the work.”

This video from Liberty Law Firm sees to support the charge of $995 when you visit to their offices. This video was posted online on December 21, 2009.

[flashvideo file=/wp-content/uploads/libertylaw.flv /]

One online statement from John D. said that a verbal loan modification is worthless.

This company is by far the worst example of what a “law firm” should be. Not only do they violate the laws of california deliberately, they will tell you anything to get your money. THEIR IS NO SUCH THING AS A VERBAL MODIFICATION OVER THE PHONE FOLKS! Listen to their radio ad, “modifications over the phone in minutes guaranteed or your money back!!! I guess what they meant, is that some jack ass salesman that they got off the street, probably a used car lot jockey, calls up your bank, throws around the phrase “law firm” and its suppose to make the representatives at the bank tremble in fear! Little does the consumer know, that they have NO POWER whatsoever to make any kind of promises over the phone. Do you really think that someone answering phones making minimum wage really have the power to grant you a loan modification? Its up to the investors whether or not they are going to grant you a modification, and that is after you go through a trial period…Stay away from these clowns, there is not one lawyer in the group of people that work loan modifications. Oh, and a little advice on customer service….make sure that you address your clients by their CORRECT names!!! Theres nothing worse than calling a guy Bob when his name is Bill! As far as the law goes, its on the front page, read it! No pay for no play! No modification in california= NO MONEY SON! – Source

What I found interesting is that neither Liberty Law Firm site lists any attorney that owns the firms. You have to do some sleuthing to find out who the attorney is. And even the LibertyFirm.org site says they are Liberty Law Firm, LLC but the State of California has no LLC by that name, only Liberty Law Firm, Inc.

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I’m thoroughly confused here. I can only imagine how confused a consumer would be.

Liberty Law Firm, Inc.

So which company is Liberty Law Firm, Inc. The address of both companies does not match the registered address on the incorporated company?

As of the time I published this I had not heard back from Brian Colombana regarding my follow-up questions.

  1. If you don’t know who American Financial Modifications is then why do they say “American Financial Modifications is now Liberty Law Firm. We are the same people, getting you the same results, we have just renamed our company and we now reside at www.llfirm.net.” and llfirm.net takes you to the Liberty Law Firm site? Is this California company stealing your identity? It’s the same logo. http://www.llfirm.net/contact-american-financial.html
  2. Also, it is my understanding that for all loan modification services in California the company or individual must be a registered foreclosure consultant but when I search Liberty law on http://ag.ca.gov/loanmod I could not find a registered agent. Do you have a specific person that is registered in your office?
  3. One other little point. California does not have a Liberty Law Firm, LLC registered. There is a Liberty Law Firm, Inc. If Liberty Law Firm LLC is not a California company, which state is it registered in?

And apparently if you want to know more about Brian, including the name of the poodle you need to visit this page.

The State of California is very serious about making sure consumers do not pay any money up-front for loan modification services. See California AG Takes Action Against Foreclosure Consultants & Loan Modification Companies.

The State has gone after many loan modification companies and their actions have led to attorneys being disbarred and criminally charged. See California Attorneys Disbarred For Loan Modification Activities and Rolls Out Tough New Regulations Regarding Mortgage Foreclosure Consultants.

Using the link California has to check for registered foreclosure and modification consultants, no company called Liberty Law Firm was a registered consultant.

Liberty Law Registration

So will the real Liberty Law Firm please stand up.

Update May 11, 2010 KTLA Investigative Report

Here is the KTLA investigative report that they did on Liberty Law. KTLA actually contacted me about the article above and said they thought my investigation was great and helped them in their work on the video piece they did.

 

Sincerly,
Steve

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