Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Consumer Alert:
1st American Law Center

Loan Modification Scam

April 15, 2011

Late in 2010, the Department started receiving complaints regarding 1st American Law Center, a loan modification company located in Oceanside, California. Consumers reported that they had paid thousands of dollars to 1st American Law Center for their loan modification services.

1st American Law Center is not, and has never been licensed with the Department. Under RCW 19.146.355, any residential mortgage loan modification services providers must be licensed as loan originators with the Department.

FBI Investigation

On June 23, 2010, the FBI raided the offices of 1st American Law Center, a loan modification company in Oceanside, California. During the course of their investigation, the FBI identified thousands of individuals that may have fallen victim to the fraudulent activities allegedly occurring at 1st American Law Center. It is possible that the actual number of victims may be much higher. The FBI’s investigation into 1st American Law Center is ongoing at this time.

Consumers may have already received a letter from the FBI’s San Diego office regarding 1st American Law Center. This letter contained information pointing you to a website where you could login to learn more about the investigation and any subsequent action taken against 1st American Law Center. Consumers who paid money to 1st American Law Center for loan modification services but did not receive the FBI letter, or consumers who are unable to login to the secured website, can contact the San Diego FBI office at (858)565-1255 and ask to speak with Yadira Dickey, Victims Coordinator.

If You Think You're a Victim

Due to the lengthy nature of the FBI investigation and the massive number of potential victims, it may take a long time for any restitution to be paid to victims. Because a probable control person of 1st American Law Center, Dean Chandler, was a member of the California State Bar at the time of the apparently fraudulent activity, consumers may qualify to receive reimbursement for their losses from the California State Bar’s Client Security Fund. First, you must file a complaint against Dean Chandler, the attorney allegedly behind 1st American Law Center, with the California State Bar Association. Once you have filed a complaint, you can then apply for reimbursement from the California State Bar’s Client Security Fund. Consumers can learn more about the details of the Client Security Fund application process by going to: http://calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/LawyerRegulation/ClientSecurityFund.aspx

A further option is to contact the bank or credit card company from which you paid the fees to 1st American Law Center. Many companies will work with consumers who have been a victim of fraud. Consumers are encouraged to contact their financial institution to find out what fraud protection may be available.

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