Once more, a Florida foreclosure firm is facing a lawsuit. It alleges the firm duped homeowners nationwide into signing up for ineffective lawsuits against their banks (mass-joinder lawsuit).
According to the Palm Beach Post, Ian Berger, a Tampa attorney, was sued in July by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Connecticut Department of Legal Affairs. The complaint filed stated that his firm charged $6,000 in up front fees plus $500 per month to homeowners seeking foreclosure help. Ian Berger claims he was bullied by “goons in California” into starting and continuing the foreclosure scheme.
The lawsuit names several entities, including the Berger Law Group, The Resolution Law Group and the Resolution Law Center. It also names Tampa attorney Ian Berger, Connecticut attorney Robert Geoffrey Broderick, California resident Gary DiGirolamo and Tampa resident David Friedman. Despite not being an attorney, DiGirolamo, created and implemented the business model for the law firms and allegedly bullied and deceived attorneys into carrying out the scheme.
For us at Graham Legal, P.A., it is extremely sad news to read of yet another foreclosure firm that fails to fight for the rights of the homeowner, and instead strives to turn a profit by taking advantage of susceptible homeowners. Homeowners facing foreclosure are already hurting and vulnerable; it is simply despicable to take advantage of them. The homeowners who trusted these attorneys were paying an excessively high fee, and in return received no aid.
This case is very similar to the suit filed against Hoffman Law Group, which was shutdown in July after years of selling mass-joinder lawsuits to homeowners hoping to save their homes. Consumer groups have consistently warned homeowners about the mass-joinder lawsuits, which are completely ineffective.
If you are facing foreclosure, it is possible you’ve already been contacted by people or companies promising to help you avoid foreclosure. One service in particular to avoid is the mass-joinder lawsuit because it is very likely that it will be a scam. Foreclosure fraud in the form of a mass-joinder lawsuit will usually arrive in the form of direct mail ,and it may or may not come from a law firm group. The direct mailing will usually inform the homeowner that they can join other homeowners to participate in a mass-joinder lawsuit against the bank. An interested homeowner will then call a sales representative who provides false information on past successful claims.
In order for the homeowner to join the mass-joinder lawsuit against their bank, they must pay large upfront legal fees, usually in excess of $10,000. According to the Federal Trade Commission, this is usually a scam and does not provide any benefit to the homeowner.
Once the money has been relinquished by the homeowner, the scammers will typically do nothing and disappear with the funds or file a lawsuit that simply gets dismissed.
There are legitimate options for avoiding foreclosure. Read more about foreclosure alternatives. At Graham Legal, we help homeowners avoid foreclosure by providing them with legal viable solutions and goals. We are proud to have saved the homes of many hardworking individuals who fell victim to bad lending practices.
If you are facing foreclosure and have received direct mail or phone calls on foreclosure alternatives that seem too good to be true, it is best to investigate further. There are plenty of online resources that can help you get additional information, as well as non-profit groups that can help provide valuable advice. Facing a foreclosure can be scary, but it is important to carefully evaluate all options to avoid possible scams.
At Graham Legal, we offer a free evaluation with our attorneys. During the free evaluation you will not only have the chance to sit one-on-one with an attorney, but before you leave you will have an outlined plan of action on how the attorney plans to move forward.