The Justice Department Tuesday filed a lawsuit alleging that several mortgage loan modification services discriminated against Hispanic homeowners by making them pay for unnecessary loan audits, which cost $5,000, and encouraging them to default on mortgage payments.
This resulted in many losing their homes, according to officials.
“Intentionally targeting any community or person with predatory mortgage services because of their ethnicity or national origin violates federal law, harms working families and hurts our entire economy,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
Adding,“The defendants in this case tried to exploit Hispanic communities and homeowners already suffering from abusive, discriminatory financial practices during the Great Recession that drove the American housing market into crisis and our economy into freefall. The Justice Department’s lawsuit serves as a stark reminder and sends a clear message that we will work tirelessly to ensure that all homeowners can access mortgage services free from discrimination.”
The defendants named in the lawsuit filed in California are The Home Loan Auditors LLC, Century Law Center LLC, SOE Assistance Center Inc., Spieker Law Office and the principals of these entities: Omar Alcaraz, Araceli Castro, Oralia Gutierrez, Hortencia Leon, Raul Luna, Elena Ramirez and David Spieker.
This lawsuit arose as a result of complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by two of the defendants’ former clients.
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