Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that his office has sued Colorado-based Assurity Financial Services for potentially deceptive practices related to refunds for insurance premiums, escrow accounts, and other funding sources. The company allegedly used misleading advertisements that claimed, among other things, false affiliations with the U.S. Veterans Administration, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and homeowners’ lenders.
In July 2009, Assurity Financial Services entered into a legally binding agreement with Florida and Colorado where the company agreed to halt its deceptive direct mailings and pay the states $200,000 in six payments, but did not make its scheduled payment on July 1, 2010. Based on the violations of the agreement, the Colorado Attorney General also has filed a lawsuit against Assurity Financial Services and managing partners Clavin B. Hamler and Troy P. Hamler.
According to the complaint, which was filed in Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit Court, some of the company’s mailers solicited consumers in several states to apply for refunds for their mortgage insurance premiums, escrow accounts, Veterans Administration escrow accounts, and funding fees. The mailers circulated appeared to be from the federal government and even included a Washington, D.C. return address. These representations allegedly led consumers to believe that Assurity had the authority to secure refunds for consumers. The complaint also alleges that other mailers appeared to come from the homeowners’ lenders.
Assurity Financial Services and the Hamlers also are suspected of sending postcards to homeowners claiming home loans could be classified into more favorable loans. The mailers did not clearly disclose that the defendants were asking homeowners to refinance their homes through the company. According to the complaint, Assurity Financial Services’ mailings gave consumers the false impression of urgency and in some cases, the company’s mailings also allegedly falsely informed homeowners they were in default, even though this was not true.