Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Connecticut AG Accuses Two Outfits Of "Lawyer Renting" While Peddling Loan Modifications; Group May Also Have Operations In Florida, Six Other States

From the Office of the Connecticut Attorney General:
  • Attorney General Richard Blumenthal [Monday] issued an urgent warning to consumers about two foreclosure rescue companies allegedly masquerading as a law firm in Connecticut. Blumenthal's office is investigating and preparing action against the companies and coordinating with the Office of the Chief Disciplinary Counsel (OCDC),(1) which has filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order and other legal remedies against the firms and associated individuals, including Kent Gross, Hazen Sturtevant and Nicola L. Zagarolo.

  • The OCDC alleges that these individuals -- doing business as First Legal Group, P.A., and Nationwide Home Relief Law Group, P.A. -- operated a law office in East Berlin without a Connecticut law license. The operators allegedly hired Connecticut lawyers who did virtually no work for consumers. They appear to have been operating in Florida, Connecticut and six or more other states. Blumenthal said, "These legal imposters may have taken $750,000 or more from at least 200 Connecticut homeowners in distress -- providing virtually no legal help. Our message about these fakes: forewarned is forearmed."(2)

For the entire press release, see Attorney General Warns Consumers About Foreclosure Rescue Company Masquerading As Law Firm.

(1) The State of Connecticut Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel is a part of the state's judicial branch of government and was created with the mission of pursuing grievance complaints relating to violations of the rules governing lawyer conduct within the state.

(2) AG Blumenthal added: "This bogus law firm operating nationwide took money from Connecticut consumers to do foreclosure mediation -- a service already provided free of charge by the [Connecticut] courts. Mediation can be critically important in saving homeowners from foreclosure, but no one should be charged for it under the false guise of legal services by non-lawyers." UnauthPractOfLawTheta