A Queens resident has filed the first New York City case under the new “distressed-property consultant law,” accusing two affiliated companies of swindling her out of more than $11,000 while breaking the law and failing to save her home from foreclosure.
MFY Legal Services brought the case against American Hope Group and the Donado law firm, both located in Elmhurst, Queens, on behalf of homeowner Elva Brardo, the New York Post reported. The groups allegedly charged illegal upfront fees, including $2,850 Brardo said she paid American Hope Group for loan-modification services.
Such fees are not to be paid until work is completed, according to the law, which was created in 2008 and amended in 2009 and 2010 and aims to protect distressed homeowners from so-called foreclosure rescue scams.
Brardo purchased her home in 2009, then fell on hard times and enlisted the help of American Hope. But the firm, which she told the New York Post she selected because they communicated with her in her native Spanish, did not secure an affordable modification for her or provide her with legal representation.
American Hope Group did not return the calls seeking comment, the Post said. [NYP] — Julie Strickland