Attorney General Roy Cooper said a company that operated in Charlotte and claimed to rescue homeowners in foreclosure was a scam operation and has been banned from doing business in the state.
Copper said today that Wake County Superior Court Judge Lucy Inman last week fulfilled Cooper’s request for a default judgment against Reginald Keith Turner, who did business as Hazelton Management and The Carley Group. Turner also ran operations in Colfax in Guilford County, Cooper said.
Turner is now permanently banned from foreclosure assistance, loan-modification and debt-relief work in the state, Cooper’s office said.
Inman has also ordered Turner to pay $32,804 in refunds to 24 customers and $50,000 in civil penalties to local public schools, Cooper said.
Under North Carolina law, it’s illegal to charge an advance fee for help with foreclosure or loan modifications. Cooper said foreclosure-assistance and loan-modification scams typically operate by getting struggling homeowners to pay upfront for help to save their homes. But, in most cases, the scammers take the money without providing the service, Cooper said.
In 2010, 251 consumers filed complaints with the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division about foreclosure and loan-modification scams, down from 448 in 2009, Cooper said.
Cooper said his office first warned Turner to stop violating the law in late 2008. Instead, Turner reopened his business under a new name, The Carley Group, the attorney general said, adding that Turner charged homeowners as much as $2,500 in advance fees but did little or nothing to help save the homes.
In June, after Cooper won a temporary court order against Turner’s business, he shut down his operation and left North Carolina, Cooper said.
Cooper said it marks the 12th case won by the Consumer Protection Division against foreclosure assistance and loan-modification scams in the past five years.
“Taking people’s money and then failing to help them just pushes homeowners even closer to foreclosure,” Cooper said. ”We’ll keep going after these foreclosure-rescue schemes that prey on fear and promise false hope.”