Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Monday, April 11, 2011

Contact

Lyn Peters, Director of Communications
PH (360) 902-8731 lyn.peters@dfi.wa.gov

Deb Bortner, Director Division of Consumer Services
PH (360) 902-0511 deb.bortner@dfi.wa.gov

Cease and Desist Order: http://dfi.wa.gov/CS%20Orders/C-11-0633-11-TD01.pdf

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:


DFI Orders Unlicensed California Law Firm - Home Credit Law Center - To Stop Offering Unlawful Mortgage Loan Modifications

Brian R. Linnekens and his law firm charged with taking property from Washington residents by fraud or misrepresentation

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) has taken swift action to stop an unlicensed mortgage loan modification company from continuing to harm Washington consumers.

DFI issued a Temporary Cease and Desist Order against Home Credit Law Center, its President, attorney Brian R. Linnekens, and an employee, Derek Thomas http://dfi.wa.gov/CS%20Orders/C-11-0633-11-TD01.pdf. The Department ordered the Respondents, all of Los Angeles, to immediately cease and desist unlicensed activity, misrepresenting that Mr. Linnekens was licensed to practice law in Washington, and taking advance fees for loan modification services.

“A local consumer reporter brought this issue to our attention recently,” DFI’s Director of Consumer Services Deb Bortner said. “We offered Mr. Linnekens the opportunity to voluntarily cease and desist, but he refused. After a quick but thorough investigation, we concluded that Home Credit Law Center posed a continuing threat to Washington consumers, and we have shut them down.”

“DFI’s Consumer Services division is committed to ensuring the safety and soundness of Washington’s mortgage industry — including foreclosure prevention and assistance,” DFI Director Scott Jarvis said. “It’s appalling how many individuals continue to take advantage of distressed homeowners in the midst of one of the most difficult times of their lives.”

As the mortgage crisis continues in Washington, more homeowners are facing the prospect of foreclosure. Some, in a desperate search for relief, cling to any offer of help. Home Credit Law Center employees call Washington homeowners offering that relief for a $3,000 advance fee.

“Loan modification services are offered for free through Housing and Urban Development-approved specialists,” continued Bortner. “Before you pay for loan modification services, see if a HUD-approved housing counselor can help you for free.”

To view the KING5-TV report by Jesse Jones on Home Credit Law Center, go to http://www.king5.com/video?id=119367394&sec=585277

A list of HUD-approved counselors is available at http://hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm?webListAction=search&searchstate=WA. DFI provides a number of resources for homeowners facing foreclosure at www.homeownership.wa.gov.

To verify whether a company offering residential loan modification is licensed by DFI, go to www.dfi.wa.gov and click on the “Verify License” link.


About the Division of Consumer Services
www.dfi.wa.gov/cs ▪ 360.902.8703
The mission of the Division of Consumer Services is to protect consumers from illegal and fraudulent lending practices. The division accomplishes its mission through licensing, licensee examinations, investigations, and enforcing selected state and federal statutes and rules. Consumer Services regulates the business activities of consumer loan companies, mortgage brokers, money transmitters and currency exchangers, as well as check cashers and sellers, also known as "payday lenders." The Division is entirely self-supporting, with funding provided by licensing, auditing, and policing of regulated businesses and individuals. No money is received from the state General Fund or other public revenue source.

About DFI
www.dfi.wa.gov ▪ 360.902-8700 ▪ 877.746-4334
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions regulates a variety of financial service providers such as banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, consumer loan companies, payday lenders and securities brokers and dealers. The department also works to improve financial education throughout Washington through its outreach programs and online clearinghouse www.dfi.wa.gov/financial-education. In addition to posting information about licensees and administrative actions, DFI uses the Web and social media to provide financial education information: http://www.twitter.com/FinEd4All, www.twitter.com/DFIConsumers, www.finlit.blogspot.com, www.youtube.com/user/WADFI, www.homeownership.wa.gov.

[Top]

DFI