The Colorado Attorney General’s Office is investigating approximately six foreclosure law firms for inflating fees that homeowners must repay to avoid losing their houses and “possibly engaging in deceptive conduct and committing fraud against distressed homeowner by overcharging foreclosure fees”.
Three law firms, Vaden Law Firm, Medved, Dale, Decker & Deere and Hopp Law Firm refused to comply with the Attorney General’s subpoena alleging that information was confidential and/or beyond the scope of their investigative area.
Yesterday, July 11th, District Court Judge Edward Bronfin ordered attorney Robert Hopp to turn over the subpoenaed paperwork within 60 days. Hopp had earlier requested to keep this case from the public citing privacy rights. In court yesterday, Assistant Attorney General Erik Neusch said Hopp had held back some of the most critical documents investigators needed. Approximately 10,000 files, going back five years is included in the investigation.
Hopp closed his law firm in April and filed for personal bankruptcy in June.
Another foreclosure law firm, Aronowitz & Mecklenburg sued the Attorney General. The details of that case are now suppressed by a judge’s order.
When going into foreclosure, a law firm files a bill with the Public Trustee’s Office, who oversees the foreclosure case. According to court documents, some law firms, are over- inflating the fee that is paid to someone to post an official notice on a property advising homeowners of their rights. That bill can be as little as $25 per posting, yet some law firms are billing as much as $150 for the service. Over the past ten years, it’s estimated this overbilling could be in the tens of millions of dollars.
Fees are suppose to be limited to the amount the law firm actually paid or was billed for a service such as posting a notice, mailing costs, property inspections, title searches or court charges.
Colorado Attorney General John Suther filed lawsuits in Denver District Court seeking a judge’s order forcing the lawyers to comply with his investigative subpoenas. One of the cases is on appeal, two others are pending and another is suppressed with all details not available.
Colorado’s Consumer Protection Act prohibits false or misleading statements about the cost of services or deceptive conduct.
For a complete story, written by David Migoya, Denver Post go here: Colorado Foreclosure Lawyers Target of Probe into Billing Practices and here, Denver Judge Orders Foreclosure Lawyer to Comply
Keith A. Gantenbein, Jr. is a Colorado consumer advocate attorney, foreclosure defense and real estate attorney located in Denver and servicing all of Colorado. His foreclosure defense practice includes: foreclosure prevention, foreclosure assistance, loan modifications, short sales, and all other foreclosure defense legal assistance. He also handles bankruptcies, mortgage negotiations, lender liability, real estate, civil litigation, debt defense, debt harassment, contracts and landlord/tenant. If you think you will be facing debt collection, foreclosure, or are in the foreclosure process, or have had a wrongful foreclosure, contact Keith Gantenbein at (303) 618-2122 for a one-hour consultation where he will discuss your situation and go over all your options with you.