WRAL Investigates

AG: Beware mortgage help with up-front fees

Posted March 13
Updated March 15

— Ronald and Brenda Williams’ plight to save their home is indicative of families in tough times who fall victim to unscrupulous mortgage assistance offers.

Lured by a television commercial, the Granville County couple paid $5,000 to The Mortgage Law Group so they could stop their foreclosure.

Instead, they got broken promises. Now their home goes on sale at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Granville County Courthouse.

“They really have gotten me taken for a fool,” Ronald Williams said.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper is part of a multi-state investigation into The Mortgage Law Group. His office has battled similar companies before.

“These types of groups kick people when they're down and take advantage of their misfortune,” Cooper said. “Be very skeptical of people who want money up front and who tell you not to deal with the lender. That tells you immediately that you're dealing with a group that's not obeying the law.”

The Williams' story struck a chord with Mary Ella Hutchinson of the Franklin County Foreclosure Fraud Task Force. Her volunteer group works to educate homeowners about their legal options and those looking to take advantage of them.

“This is not just something you give up and walk away. You fight,” she said. “The time now is to start fighting back and not let this happen. This protects everybody. It will stabilize our property values throughout North Carolina and bring a level playing field to everyone involved.”

As more people step in to help delay Friday’s foreclosure sale, time is quickly running out for the Williams.

“Foreclosure for us is a nightmare,” Brenda Williams said.

37 Comments

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  • whatelseisnew Mar 21, 4:22 p.m.

    Well thank Government again. The Government intruded and this opened up an opportunity for scammers. Government is the scammers best friend. Foreclosure law should be SET in a given State and that is that. The only entity that should have the option to make an arrangement with a borrower is the original lender. The fact is Person A BORROWS money and uses the HOME as the collateral against the money they borrowed. Person A agreed to specific terms. Should Person A fail to meet those terms then they lose the property. Government should NEVER come in after the fact and try to force deal changes. That is what opens up room for these scams.

  • wildween Mar 14, 6:50 p.m.

    “They really have gotten me taken for a fool,” Ronald Williams said.

    That pretty much... View More

    — Posted by smdrn

    ok, I just spat BBQ all over the place...LOL

  • umop apisdn Mar 14, 4:18 p.m.

    If you had $5,000.00, why didn't you pay that on your mortgage??????

    — Posted by rcrumpler6

    I'm not going to pretend to know how it works but it maybe a case where the bank says they'll stop the foreclosure process if the couple got up to date on their payments plus kept current. Now there's a company telling them they can get it worked out for less, say their regular payments plus an extra $100/month. It may have sounded reasonable.

    I wouldn't be quick to judge these people, I haven't been there so I don't know what their thoughts were or what the bank told them.

    I do hope they get their house back.

  • Obamacare rises again Mar 14, 4:08 p.m.

    Most unknown companies based out of Florida or Montreal, Canada are normally running some sort of scam.

  • Billy the Kid Mar 14, 3:36 p.m.

    Number 1001 of what's wrong with the United States.

  • Billy the Kid Mar 14, 3:17 p.m.

    "Lured by a television commercial"

    That says so much it's not even funny.

  • Billy the Kid Mar 14, 3:16 p.m.

    These people were looking for something magical. If they had 5k, why not just send that to the bank? If they had 5k to send to some company, they had it to send to their mortgage holder.

  • rcrumpler6 Mar 14, 3:12 p.m.

    If you had $5,000.00, why didn't you pay that on your mortgage??????

  • mike275132 Mar 14, 3:07 p.m.

    There is never a "Free" lunch.

    Most of the Credit Repair/ Mortgage Helpers are useless and in this case criminal.

    Sadly these people lost their homes like thousands in NC in the last 6 years due to the Subprime Bubble. Where Federal govt back subprime loans to people who couldn't afford them were pushed to increase "Homeownership".,

    That's how bubbles form.
    Buy a house you can afford , put 25% down and have the payemnts never be more than 20% of your worst case income.

  • smdrn Mar 14, 3:04 p.m.

    “They really have gotten me taken for a fool,” Ronald Williams said.

    That pretty much explains it all.

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