In this post I’m going to do things a bit different. I’m just going to publish the facts that I have and I’m going to encourage you to post a comment with your opinion of Camden Legal Group.
This story all began with a reader question. The reader also forwarded me emails from the company marketing the Camden Legal Group program. Both myself and the consumer emailed the company, as you will see, but nobody has responded to any inquiry for more information.
At the time of the article it appeared that a California attorney, Jimmy Swinder, was related to the company but also worked for another law firm. Since my article his information no longer appears on that firms associates page. – Source
I had asked the firm, Skane Wilcox, about their relationship with Camden Legal Group and they never responded to my inquiry.
The company marketing the program was Homeowner Help Initiative at homehi.org. The HomeHi.org domain name is owned by CreativeNote, Inc.
The camdenlegalgroup.com is owned by the same company.
The Homeowner Help Initiative website does not say where they are located but the direct telephone number area code for the sales representative is 323 and that returns to Los Angeles.
The State of California cannot locate a corporation or LLC that is registered under the name of Homeowner Help Initiative.
Service Representative Email to Consumer
On Nov 4, 2015, at 7:00 PM, Michael Grey
[ and ],
Per our discussion, below is the information regarding Camden Legal Group. Please take time to review the website at: www.camdenlegalgroup.com
The problems facing many homeowners today can be addressed by taking a preventative approach. Here is an outline of what the law firm will do:
- The law firm will form a demand letter because they are demanding a settlement from the legal department of the lender, not a loan modification.
- The law firm creates an opinion memorandum focusing on predatory lending violations made on the loan at the time of approval.
- The law firm uses the opinion memorandum to construct a lawsuit focusing on the predatory lending violations that have taken place on your loan
- The law firm sends the demand letter/opinion memorandum/lawsuit to the lender, creating a leverage against them that can only be relieved through settlement
- The lender will much rather settle than fight a lawsuit. Reason being is that the mortgage company will have to hire corporate legal representation which will cost $10,000 to $20,000 a month.
The demand letter and opinion memorandum will allow them to form claims against your lender that can be emotional infliction of stress, harassing phone calls, and credit damage
Direct: (323) 306-5191
Toll Free: 877-275-1636
Fax: (323) 306-5191
Steve’s Note: The client agreement says the services provided are: “1) drafting a demand letter regarding CLIENT’s property address relating to the terms of their loan, 2) a qualified written request which relates to CLIENT’s property and the loan which encumbers the property; and 3) drafting a complaint which contains CLIENT property address and the terms of the loan.” It goes on to say the agreement “contains no other legal services, any other legal work product, including, without limitation, any form litigation including appearances in Court, settlement conferences, drafting answers in response to summons and complaint, overall litigation related and legal representation in foreclosure action, or orders of the court and/or appeals from any judgments.”
Consumer Asks Pre-Sale Questions
On November 7, 2015, Michael, a “service representative” with Homeowner Help Initiative, responded to the reader’s questions prior to enrolling. The answers from Michael Grey are in bold. Grey has not responded to multiple emails for comment.
Sent: Saturday, November 7, 2015 5:08 PM
To: Michael Grey
Subject: Re: Case File- [ ]- LCP Program Camden Legal Group***
We do have some questions and wonder if you can clarify some things?
- I went to your website to get an address so I can mail some documents, but cannot find your address, and your email does not include an address. Would you please provide your address?
We don’t accept mail, as we direct all resources to finding solutions on mortgages for the people in hardship situation, nor do we advertise (have very limited budget). Nor do we accept walk in-s, otherwise there would be a line out the door, thus, we don’t publicly list our address.
- Since you forwarded the Camden Agreement, I did not know who should receive questions, so I am sending them to you:
The Agreement does not identify the attorney who will work with us. Please provide the name of the attorney.
Working with a specific attorney would not be happening in this case, as you may know, attorney’s when directly involved are extremely expensive. In this case it is attorney supervised but like any lawfirm, the paralegal’s and case managers do the majority of the work. If you wish for direct attorney contact you may want to find a local attorney, I’m sure there are some in your area that you can contact and consult, however the cost’s would be about 3-4x.
You mentioned Camden will be the go-between and will carry out any needed discussions with OCWEN. The Agreement notes the $3750 is solely for preparation of the 3 documents. Does this cost include discussions with OCWEN once the demand is sent? Assuming a “Complaint” is a document filed in court for a lawsuit, what is the purpose of drafting a Complaint if the services covered by the fee do not include filing the complaint?
Camden would be handling the case from start to finish, including those 3 portions of the procedure and handling the lender during their legal procedure. They contact the lender upon first installment being drafted and maintain communications throughout the duration of the procedure. As far as filing a lawsuit, I’m sure you know that is an extremely expensive endeavor, which would cost on average 50-100k for the client alone for a full scale case. If you wish to take that route, I’d recommend contacting a local mortgage litigation attorney, and surely you can take that route. Strategically speaking it’s quite a bit more expensive, while producing similar results to this procedure. The purpose of the complaint would be on a leverage only basis, to show the damages that could occur to the lender should the client proceed further, enabling them to do a cost/benefit analysis and determine the risk that this client poses should they proceed further and allow the bank to “get out” of the fee’s it would take to defend themselves (an olive branch).
- What is the relationship between Camden and Homeowner Help Initiative? Are we paying separate fees for HHI or are you compensated by Camden and we have no additional cost?
Camden is a lawfirm, and they have fee’s, we do not have any fee’s and use 15 different programs to assist homeowners. Most government and state programs, but some high level lawfirm’s that do specific procedures for specific case criteria.
- What guidelines are you using to arrive at the mortgage payment you quoted as [ ] being legally entitled to receive? What are the expected terms of a modification that would provide that payment? OCWEN wants to create a balloon payment due at the end of the loan. That makes no sense to us. Isn’t there a way that they forgive part of the balance rather than deferred balloon payment?
Applicable case law, federal laws and regulations all are factors in determining what a client is legally eligible for. This procedure is centered around enforcing that figure so the client can afford the payment moving foreward. There is also the possibility she will get the same payment, because it is moderately low, however , if that occurred she would be back to current. Sometimes they forgive the balance that is behind, sometimes they roll it into the loan and recapitalize based on the new balance and interest rate. Many variables exist in a situation like this, thus results can vary. A balloon would be pushed against of course, and wouldn’t make sense for her, they will do everything they can to avoid a balloon.
thank you for your help.
Consumer Lives in North Carolina
The consumer who contacted me lives in North Carolina which has strict laws against advanced fees for mortgage modification help, which the Attorney General office confirmed for this article. Neither Camden Legal Group or Homeowner Help Initiative are registered in North Carolina to do business. The North Carolina attorney who would be assisting the consumer was unable to be identified by the company.
My Email Asking for More Information
My email below has gone unanswered.
Date: November 12, 2015 at 12:38:42 PM EST
To: [email protected]
Subject: Press Inquiry – Quote Needed on Homeowner Help Initiative and Camden Legal Group
I was forwarded information about Camden Legal Group and the program you are selling. Before I publish my story I’d like to get some clarification and a response from you to make sure your side is heard and understood by readers.
According to your email footer you are identified as:
Direct: (323) 306-5191
Toll Free: 877-275-1636
Fax: (323) 306-5191
Is that attribution correct for you?
It appears you have been attempting to sell mortgage assistance service for people needing a modification or who are struggling. Some of these consumers live in states that prohibit the advance fee for these types of services. For example, in North Carolina.
Can you help me and my readers understand how you are able to do this. If there is some issue that I’m missing that makes this complaint with NC statutes, please let me know.
When I asked the North Carolina Attorney General office for information on this, they said, “Under NC’s debt adjusting act, GS 14-423, et seq., it’s illegal to charge advance fees for mortgage loan modification services. Mortgage loan modification services may be considered to fall under foreclosure rescue services, but in any event are clearly debt adjusting services. Although not as detailed, NC’s law is similar to the federal MARS (mortgage assistance relief services) rule. If you have any questions, or want to discuss, just let me know.”
According to the client agreement you’ve sent out the claim is made that Camden Legal Group is not charging upfront fees but in the same agreement it requires the client to pay fees by installment on a regular basis. How does that process logically work then. I’m stumped how a consumer makes five payments for three documents yet the documents are delivered to the consumer before any fee is taken to avoid the advance fee issue.
In what order are those documents given to the client? It seems you are promoting a legal package that includes the production of three documents but are they delivered when the client enrolls and then payments are collected over five months or are the documents delivered as payments come in over five months. It’s just not clear from the “retainer agreement” you’ve sent out. Please clarify.
I also could not find any registration with either Homeowner Help Initiative or Camden Legal with the State of North Carolina to do business. There was no registration for HHI in California. Are you not in California? Can you please provide me with the registration information to make sure I do not misrepresent that finding.
Finally, can you please identify the attorney who is responsible for Camden Legal Group legal work and supervision. I’d be happy to include a quote in the story about how they are helping people. This last point is important since the client agreement says the services provided including the drafting of a complaint. So there must be an attorney who is licensed in North Carolina who is doing this. Who? Can you please connect me with them?
According to public records, http://www.corporationwiki.com/p/2kr9q9/camden-legal-group-pc Jimmy Swinder is the president of Camden Legal Group. While he is an attorney in California, he does not appear to be a licensed attorney in North Carolina. Am I correct in assuming Jimmy Sinder is the attorney behind Camden Legal Group retainer agreements and trust accounts then?
I’ve attached a copy of the client agreement that was furnished to be by a consumer. If this is not your current agreement, please forward the current agreement to me for the story.
Camden Legal Group Client Agreement
Jimmy Swinder is a licensed attorney in California and has no Bar action against him.
Emails to Swinder at his Bar listed email address are undeliverable.
Generating server: SkaneWilcox.com
#550 5.1.1 RESOLVER.ADR.RecipNotFound; not found ##
I have given Jimmy Swinder, Camden Legal Group and Homeowner Help Initiative opportunities to respond and offer up their side of the story. At the time this story was published, no responses were received to my inquiries.
I would invite you to do any further research you feel is necessary and post your comments below regarding your opinion of the program Camden Legal Group is selling to consumers.
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