Missouri has filed suit against a Kansas City firm, claiming that it is preying on people who are desperate to save their homes.
Attorney General Chris Koster has filed suit against Premier Credit Services of Kansas City and principals Michael and Angela Eads. Koster accuses the couple of promising homeowners facing foreclosure that they could drop their interest rate, lower their house payment and repair their credit.
Koster says his office has mounted a "zero tolerance" campaign against mortgage fraud.
"There’s no doubt that the mortgage fraud scams that we’re seeing are spiking as a result of the economy," Koster says. "In the first six months of this year, we have seen twice as many complaints come into the Attorney General’s office as we saw in all of 2007 and 2008 combined."
Koster accuses Premier of engaging in two practices that should be red flags for fraud: charging up-front payments and portraying themselves as being part of the federal government.
"These are not federal government institutions that are reaching out to private homeowners, they are private businesses and a lot of them are simply scam artists," says Koster.
Koster reminds consumers that it is against Missouri law to charge consumers up-front for credit help. The Attorney General is asking for restitution to consumers and monetary penalties.
Koster has declared a "zero tolerance" policy against mortgage fraud. He has filed suit against six companies offering mortgage refinancing or foreclosure relief. More than a dozen other investigations are underway.
Consumers skeptical about home-finance offers can call the Attorney General’s consumer hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or go to the Attorney General Web site .