Mortgage Critics / State charges 3 unlicensed Orlando loan modifiers
By Mary Shanklin, Orlando Sentinel
10:11 p.m. EST, February 4, 2010
The state Office of Financial Regulation launched a statewide campaign Thursday against unlicensed companies that are modifying mortgages, announcing charges against three Orlando businesses.
The administrative charges are the result of a new state requirement that all loan-modification services be licensed by the agency.
"The new laws help us safeguard consumers and protect them from becoming victims of financial fraud during these difficult economic times, " Commissioner Tom Cardwell said.
The companies charged are:
•Alpalo Inc., doing business as Alliance Processing, 8421 S. Orange Blossom Trail.
•Loan Modification Professional Service Inc. and Saitame Charles, 6318 W. Colonial Drive.
•Mortgage Critics LLC and David G. Artzner, 320 N. Magnolia Ave.
Those companies are charged with providing loan-modification services, such as refinancing mortgages or adjusting interest rates, without a license. They may appeal for the state Division of Administrative Hearings. If a case proceeds to the courts, the charges can result in a third-degree felony conviction punishable by a prison term of up to five years and a fine not to exceed $5, 000 for each case.
Cardwell specifically cautioned people against paying any upfront fees whatsoever for loan modifications, as that is illegal. "If your broker asks for any money upfront, simply turn and walk away, " Cardwell advised.
Mary Shanklin can be reached at [protected]@orlandosentinel.com or [protected].