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03/15/12

Long Island lawyer David Green sued for fraud by the Lawyers' Committee

 

A West Hempstead bank attorney and his law firm have been sued by a national civil rights group for allegedly defrauding homeowners out of tens of thousands of dollars.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has filed a lawsuit against David Green and his law firm, The Green Law Group, on behalf of 18 homeowners from seven states.

The lawsuit claims Green allegedly promised to renegotiate home loans for the residents, securing lower monthly payments, in exchange for an upfront payment of $5,000. The Lawyers’ Committee said state laws prohibit for-profit mortgage assistance relief service providers from accepting fees upfront.

But an attorney for Green refuted that claim.

“It’s not illegal if you’re an attorney,” said Green’s attorney, who did not wish to be identified. “Real Property Law 265-B specifically exempts attorneys from the upfront fee prohibition.”

The homeowners claim they were duped by Green’s advertising practices, which named his law firm “America’s premier loss mitigation firm.” They also were allegedly told that they would be unable to renegotiate their mortgages without legal assistance, according to the 138-page complaint.

Linda Mullenbach, senior counsel for the fair housing and fair lending project of the Lawyers’ Committee who is heading the litigation in this case, said the best type of mortgage renegotiation services are free and provided by HUD-certified counselors.

But Green’s attorney said lawyers are often able to renegotiate mortgages better than their non-attorney counterparts.

The complaint further alleges Green and his law firm did “little to now work” on the homeowners’ loan modification applications, but still kept all or most of the upfront fees.

“The impact of this type of scam activity on financially distressed homeowners has proven devastating,” said Jon Greenbaum, Lawyers’ Committee chief counsel and senior deputy director. “Not only are homeowners being defrauded out of thousands of dollars, but they ultimately sustain a variety of other losses, including late fees and damage to credit scores and, in the worst cases, are brought closer to the brink of foreclosure as a direct result of the scam.”

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