Attorney General announces actions taken against companies preying on Colorado borrowers

DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that his office has taken action against three firms engaged in fraudulent business practices in Colorado as part of his office’s efforts to crack down on mortgage and foreclosure fraud.

“The problem of mortgage brokers falsifying consumers’ earnings or wrongly vouching for their abilities to pay back steep loans has undoubtedly contributed to Colorado’s foreclosure crisis,” Suthers said. “Loan modification and foreclosure rescue firms also have only exacerbated Colorado’s foreclosure crisis. These firms, like fraudulent mortgage brokers, prey on consumers’ hopes of owning their homes. The cases we are announcing today, as part of a nationwide mortgage-fraud sweep, underline our commitment to vigorously pursing the bad actors in Colorado’s mortgage and foreclosure marketplace.”

Since the last sweep in November, the Office of the Attorney General has taken legal actions against:

  • American Mortgage Consultants, an Aurora-based loan modification company, and its owner, Oliver Paul Maldonado (DOB: 12/15/1972), and its principal employee, Santiago Fabian Pineda (DOB: 6/24/1978). American Mortgage Consultants is suspected of using deceptive trade practices to attract consumers to its loan-modification business. The firm also is suspected of collecting upfront fees from consumers for loan-modification services, which is illegal.

The Office of the Attorney General also has reached assurances of voluntary compliance with:

Both Smith and Nguyen are required under the assurances to make proper disclosure to their clients concerning home loans and to make full disclose of the terms and interest rates in any advertisement about mortgage products.

The Office of the Attorney General’s actions come as part of “Operation Stolen Dreams,” a multistate sweep the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission announced today. The sweep covers nine states and announces 101 actions taken against loan modification firms. Colorado has been on the top states affected by the foreclosure crisis in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Suthers encouraged consumers facing foreclosure to contact the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline at 1-877-601-HOPE (4673). The hotline is staffed with HUD-approved nonprofit housing counselors who can talk with them about their mortgage. Studies have shown that four out of five homeowners who use the Foreclosure Hotline stand a good chance of saving their home at no cost.

To learn more about the Office of the Attorney General’s efforts at combating mortgage fraud or to learn more about your options if you are either in or facing foreclosure, visit the office’s Mortgage Fraud Information Center. Colorado consumers can file a complaint if they believe they have been the victim of fraud at www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/complaint.

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