WRAL Investigates

AG: Beware mortgage help with up-front fees

Posted March 13, 2014 7:20 p.m. EDT
Updated March 15, 2014 10:57 a.m. EDT

— 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.