Fraudsters in Florida

A history of settlements for various frauds within the lending industry in Florida

The financial industry’s fraud continues impacting Floridians. These settlements highlight the scope and scale of what homeowners all over Florida are encountering. We must work to strengthen Florida’s consumer protection laws.

Nationwide Equities Corporation

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a consent order against Nationwide Equities Corporation (NWEC), a reverse mortgage broker and lender. Nationwide Equities Corporation sent direct mail solicitations and other marketing communications to hundreds of thousands of older borrowers that violated the Mortgage Acts and Practices Advertising Rule.

$140,000

April 27 18, 2021

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Seterus, Inc. and Kyanite Services, Inc.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) issued a consent order against Seterus, Inc. (Seterus), a former mortgage servicer based in North Carolina, and Kyanite Services, Inc. (Kyanite). The Bureau found that Seterus, which used automated processes for handling loss mitigation applications, violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010’s (CFPA) prohibition of unfair acts and practices by:

  • Systematically failing to accurately review, process, track, and communicate to borrowers information regarding their applications
  • Deceptive acts and practices by sending numerous borrowers acknowledgment notices regarding their applications that misrepresented the status of borrower documents and provided inaccurate due dates for submission of borrower documents.

$4,932,525

December 18, 2020

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Mr.Cooper and Nationstar Mortgage

The country’s fourth-largest mortgage servicer. which does business as Mr. Cooper, violated consumer protection laws during its servicing of mortgage loans.

  • Failed to identify thousands of loans with existing modifications
  • Failed to recognize transferred loans with pending loss mitigation applications or trial modification plans
  • Failed to identify and honor other borrowers’ loan modification agreements
  • Foreclosed on borrowers to whom it had promised foreclosure holds while they applied for loss mitigation relief
  • Improperly increased borrowers’ permanent, modified monthly loan payments
  • Untimely payments of borrowers’ tax payments from their escrow accounts
  • Failed to properly conduct escrow analyses for borrowers during their Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings
  • Failed to timely remove private mortgage insurance from borrowers’ accounts

$86 million

December 7, 2020

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Washington Federal, N.A.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau settled with Washington Federal Bank, N.A., a federally insured, for-profit national bank headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Washington Federal reported data under HMDA on over 7,000 mortgage applications in each of 2016 and 2017. The Bureau found that these data included significant errors with some samples having error rates as high as 40%.

$200,000

October 27, 2020

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Low VA Rates, LLC

On October 26, 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a consent order against Low VA Rates, LLC, a Utah-based mortgage lender and broker incorporated in Colorado and licensed in 48 states and the District of Columbia.

  • Sent consumers mailers for VA-guaranteed mortgages that contained false, misleading, or inaccurate statements, in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act’s (CFPA) prohibition against deceptive acts and practices.
  • Sent consumers numerous advertisements for VA-guaranteed mortgages that, among other things, promoted mortgage products that were not actually available
  • Failed to properly disclose rates and repayment terms.
  • Used misleading descriptions of rates.
  • Used misleading representations regarding the savings or financial benefits available to consumers.

Other benefits obtained for Florida borrowers include at least $1 million in mortgage loan modifications and approximately $5.5 million in late fee waivers for eligible borrowers. Ocwen will also pay more than $3 million in civil penalties and reimbursement for the Attorney General Office’s fees and costs.

$1.8 million

October 26, 2020

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Ocwen Servicing

The agreement with Florida will provide at least $8.6 million in consumer relief, including $2.1 million to Floridians who were harmed as a result of Ocwen’s alleged servicing failures including;

  • Untimely payments of borrowers’ insurance premiums
  • Improper lender forced-placed insurance
  • Overcharging for property preservation inspections
  • Robo signing (where foreclosure documents were signed by people who had no knowledge about whether the information contained in the documents was correct)
  • Charging improper fees
  • Providing false or misleading reasons for denying loan modifications
  • Failing to honor in-process loan modifications agreed to by prior servicers

Other benefits obtained for Florida borrowers include at least $1 million in mortgage loan modifications and approximately $5.5 million in late fee waivers for eligible borrowers. Ocwen will also pay more than $3 million in civil penalties and reimbursement for the Attorney General Office’s fees and costs.

$8.6 million

October 15, 2020

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HSBC National Settlement

HSBC Bank USA has agreed to a $470 million settlement to address what Florida’s Attorney General called mortgage origination, servicing and foreclosure abuses. The settlement provides direct payments to borrowers for past foreclosure abuses and requires the company to provide loan modifications and other consumer relief. About 6,400 Florida borrowers will be eligible for payments.

$470 million

February 2017

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SunTrust National Settlement

SunTrust has agreed to pay $320 million to resolve the criminal investigation into SunTrust’s HAMP Program.

$320 million

204

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Lender Processing Services

Lender Processing Services, A.K.A “DocX Document services”- LPS shall pay a total of $7,659,176.00 as settlement payment with states attorneys general of 46 states and the District of Columbia. The settlements resolve all the investigations including former document preparation, verification, signing and notarization practices of certain operations.

$7.6 million

January 2013

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National Mortgage Settlement of 2012

In the National Mortgage Settlement case of 2012, Florida obtained a guarantee from Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, and Bank of America to ensure that at least $4 billion in relief under the settlement is provided to Floridians. Florida will receive a total value of more than $4 billion in credits and $8 billion in total dollar value.

$8 billion

February 2012

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