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Law Enforcement Takes Aim at Questionable Financial Rescue Plans

It’s the kind of story that makes lawyers across the country cringe.

Earlier this month, a South Florida law firm came under fire for supposedly operating a fraudulent mortgage rescue scheme, bilking consumers at a time when they needed sound financial help the most.

Miami Firm Sued

The firm in this case is run by a man named Gennady Litvin, who has offices in Miami and New York City. According to the South Florida Business Journal, Litvin was also tied to a questionable financial rescue program that was shut down by the Federal Trade Commission in 2012. Now, the New York attorney general’s office has filed a lawsuit alleging the firm used deceptive practices in order to induce homeowners into paying steep monthly fees so they could avoid foreclosure.

A news release from the New York attorney general’s office says this particular scheme used television commercials, radio ads, and third-party marketers who promised “a level of service that usually is only enjoyed by large corporate clients” – but in reality delivered anything but.

According to the lawsuit, consumers in danger of losing their homes paid as much as $750 per month for what they were told would be a comprehensive legal plan that would allow them to obtain a mortgage modification. But the firm never came through on its promises.

Litvin has denied the allegations and in a statement to the New York Law Journal said he plans to vigorously defend the charges in court.

Lawsuit Part of Larger Crackdown

It all sounds strikingly similar to the schemes Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has attacked in recent months, joining 15 other states to go after scam artists who seek to prey on delinquent homeowners who then receive little or no help in avoiding foreclosure.

“Consumers facing foreclosure place a special trust in attorneys hired to help them navigate the myriad of legal issues they are facing, and our office will hold those accountable who perpetrate scams that prey upon families at risk of losing their home,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a news release. “We will continue to fight for those still struggling in the aftermath of the housing crisis.”

Schneiderman wants the law firms involved in these types of shenanigans to pay fines and restitution to customers.

We agree. That special trust Schneiderman refers to between attorneys and their clients is something most lawyers take very seriously. In fact, it is a value the legal profession goes to great lengths to instill in its members.

Reputable Attorneys Value Your Trust

Most consumers are probably not aware that attorneys must pass a separate professional responsibility examination in addition to the bar exam in order to become licensed, and ongoing ethics training is now required to remain in good standing.

And that’s what makes situations like this so maddening for fellow lawyers. The bad actions of a few have the potential to make all lawyers look bad and undermine the reputation for sound, above-board, and ethical representation that so many of us have worked hard to cultivate over the years.

At the Florida Law Offices of Larry E. Bray, our experienced real estate team never takes your trust for granted. We’re committed to working with our clients to find the best solutions available to resolve any mortgage crisis you may face. Feel free to contact our Lake Worth, West Palm Beach, or Boca Raton office to arrange an initial consultation.

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