Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cal. State Bar Shelves Another Attorney For Association With Alleged Lawyer-Renting Loan Mod Racket; Pocketed Upfront Fees & Did Nothing, Says Judge

In Southern California, The Orange County Register reports:
  • An Orange County lawyer who signed retainer agreements with homeowners facing foreclosure but then "did little or nothing to help them'' was placed on involuntary inactive enrollment, the State Bar of California announced. The Bar cited complaints from clients in 8 states against lawyer Brian Colombana, 29, of Lake Forest.(1)


  • The action against Columbana stems from efforts by the State Bar’s Task Force on Loan Modification to stop lawyers who "exploit the vulnerabilities of frightened homeowners who face foreclosure by promising services that are never delivered,'' the Bar says.

  • Since the task force was created last April, seven involuntary enrollments have been ordered and 13 resignations obtained from lawyers who engaged in misconduct related to loan modifications. The Bar says there are 5 loan modification trials pending and 2,000 active investigations.

For the story, see Bar goes after O.C. loan mod lawyer.

(1) According to the story, The State Bar of California released the following statement:

  • State Bar Court Judge Richard Honn said in his June 17 ruling that the conduct of Brian Colombana ... “poses a substantial threat of harm to his clients or the public.” Honn cited 13 declarations against Colombana by clients from California, South Carolina, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Maryland, Utah and New York who paid upfront fees to one of the loan modification companies with which Colombana was affiliated, including Loan Negotiators of America, Housing Law Center and Mortgage Law Center.

    In most cases, clients never even met the attorney but dealt with non-attorney representatives of the loan modification companies. Through the companies, Colombana 'convinced numerous cash-strapped homeowners to pay him thousands of dollars in hopes of saving their homes from foreclosure,' Honn wrote. '. . . Many of these homeowners were worse off after retaining respondent’s services.'

    The judge noted that many of the homeowners were current with their mortgages but then were advised by Colombana’s affiliates to stop paying. “Soon these clients were behind on their mortgage payments and facing foreclosure, and [Colombana] wasn’t there to help,” Honn wrote. In ordering involuntary inactive enrollment, Honn said Colombana continues to harm clients by failing to refund unearned fees or communicate with them and demonstrates a pattern of behavior likely to continue to cause substantial harm.