FTC, California DFPI Case Leads to Ban Against Operators of Mortgage Relief Scam Home Matters USA

A federal court has issued an order banning the operators of the Home Matters USA mortgage relief scam from the telemarketing and debt relief businesses and requiring them to turn over $19 million as a result of a lawsuit by the Federal Trade Commission and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI).

The FTC and DFPI sued companies doing business as Home Matters USA, Academy Home Services, Atlantic Pacific Service Group, and Golden Home Services America and the owners of the companies, Michael R. Nabati, Armando Solis Barron, Dominic Ahiga (also known as Michael D. Grinnell), and Roger S. Dyer in September 2022, charging them with taking millions of dollars from thousands of struggling homeowners seeking mortgage relief.

The court found that the defendants falsely promised to reduce homeowners’ mortgage payments and prevent foreclosures, defrauding distressed homeowners out of millions of dollars. The scheme harmed more than 3,000 people nationwide, particularly elders and veterans.

“Our win in this case sends a clear message to scammers who target consumers facing financial hardship: the FTC and our law enforcement partners are focused on fighting fraud and halting it,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We look forward to more opportunities to partner with the California DFPI on behalf of consumers.”

“This case also demonstrates the value of the California Consumer Financial Protection Law as a tool to combat deceptive and predatory financial schemes. Fraudsters everywhere should take note – DFPI will find you, expose you, and hold you accountable. Victims of fraud should likewise take heart. The DFPI has your back,” said DFPI Commissioner Clothilde Hewlett.

The court’s orders bar the individuals and their companies from directly or indirectly engaging in telemarketing, debt relief services, and making any misrepresentations or unsubstantiated claims about any product or service.

Official news published at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2024/02/ftc-california-dfpi-case-leads-ban-against-operators-mortgage-relief-scam-home-matters-usa

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