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Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Launches Digital Guide for Combatting Consumer Financial Scams

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 4, 2015

CONTACT:

Stacie B. Burgess                                                                    
Director of Communications and External Affairs                                                    
Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law                  
Telephone:  (202) 662-8317                                                  
Email:  sburgess@lawyerscommittee.org

 

Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Launches Digital Guide for
Combatting Consumer Financial Scams

Free Training Workshops Available for Groups 

Washington, D.C. – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) announced today that it launched a new resource for groups involved in efforts to combat consumer financial scams: “A Practical Guide for Identifying, Investigating, and Bringing Suit against Consumer Financial Scams: Lessons Learned and Tips Developed From Combatting Loan Modification Scams.”

While not intended to provide legal advice, the guide provides effective strategies and best practices for fighting scams on behalf of consumers, drawing on the methods used in and lessons learned from the Lawyers’ Committee’s work over the past six years in combatting loan modification scammers and scamming entities.  In those efforts, the Lawyers’ Committee, together with its pro bono counsel, investigated and brought successful litigation against scam operators and operations, which thus far has resulted in the shutdown of 47 scamming entities, the barring of 73 individuals from ever being involved in loan modification work, relief for over 500 homeowner consumers, and approximately $4 million in settlements, punitive damages awards, judgments and default judgments in the collection process.

According to the Lawyers’ Committee’s database, as of December 1, 2015, homeowners from around the country have reported over $104 million in total reported losses related to foreclosure rescue scams. Like many consumer financial scams, minority homeowners have been disproportionately impacted by foreclosure rescue scams. Half of the total reported losses have been reported by African American and Hispanic or Latino homeowners. Minority homeowners also report losing more on average per scam. African American homeowners report losing $3,254 on average, $246 more than White homeowners ($3,008), and Hispanic or Latino homeowners report losing $4,235 on average, $1,227 more than White homeowners.

“We are very excited to provide to others what we have learned over the past six years in combatting loan scams.,” said Lawyers’ Committee Senior Special Counsel Linda Mullenbach, who headed the loan modification scam private enforcement actions and lead this effort to develop the guide and training workshops.  “We are especially appreciative of the support of Citi in developing these resources and are very appreciative of the contributions of two of our key pro bono law firms, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in New York and Latham & Watkins in California that collaborated with us in the development of the guide and the training workshops.”

The guide is available here. It contains links to 36 examples of resources, pleadings, motions, memoranda, orders and discovery requests from the Lawyers’ Committee’s California and New York cases which can serve as models for attorneys who wish to pursue private enforcement efforts against consumer financial scammers and scamming entities.

The free training workshops are being offered either through live sessions or a Webinar, which is being developed.

For more information, please contact the Lawyers’ Committee’s Communications Director Stacie B. Burgess at sburgess@lawyerscommittee.org.

 

About the Lawyers’ Committee

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. We celebrated our 50th anniversary in 2013 and continue our quest of “Moving America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and community development; employment; voting; education; environmental justice; and criminal justice.  For more information about the Lawyers’ Committee, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.

 

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