FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: DECEMBER 04, 2012
Preliminary Injunction and Asset Freeze Obtained Against Individuals
Behind Nationwide Loan Scam Operation
Riverside, CA – On November 29, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia granted a Preliminary Injunction against Michael Wayman and Daniel Brokaw, the individuals behind a network of companies alleged to have defrauded clients of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) and Latham & Watkins LLP out of tens of thousands of dollars. Attorneys in the San Diego office of Latham & Watkins are providing pro bono counsel on the case and were instrumental in obtaining the injunction.
The Preliminary Injunction prevents Wayman and Brokaw from working in any capacity in the area of loan modifications or mortgage relief services and also from engaging in other unfair and deceptive business practices in violation of California law. In addition, defendants are required to provide plaintiffs with information about all assets defendants own or hold in order to prevent defendants from attempting to dissipate or hide assets. Finally, Judge Ottolia ordered an immediate freeze of Wayman and Brokaw’s assets: “The bank, financial institution, or any other corporate or legal entity, that directly or indirectly holds any money, property, or any other asset on behalf of [any defendant] shall immediately freeze all assets and prevent any use of those assets,” except for reasonable living expenses approved by the Court. [Click Here to View Order]
“Judge Ottolia’s order sends an important message to scammers who think they can make easy money targeting distressed homeowners,” said Linda Mullenbach, senior counsel for the Fair Housing and Fair Lending Project of the Lawyers’ Committee. “Law enforcement, government agencies, and non-profit organizations such as the Lawyers’ Committee are making stopping these scams—which have devastating consequences to homeowners—a priority, and scammers’ unlawful behavior is catching up with them.”
The Lawyers’ Committee’s lawsuit has been brought on behalf of 16 homeowners from California and five other states. The complaint alleges that the loan modification scam in this case is operated by multiple corporate and individual defendants, managed by principals Michael Wayman and Don Brokaw. The corporate defendants named are Certified Financial Protection Group, LLC, Financial Hope for America, Inc., Safehouse 911, LLC, d/b/a Safehouse Professional Mortgage Restructuring 911, and U.S. Financial Advantage, all of which are California companies. The suit alleges that defendants defrauded vulnerable homeowners out of tens of thousands of dollars by falsely promising to obtain—for substantial upfront and monthly membership fees—much-needed mortgage modifications on the homeowners’ behalf, but consistently failing to deliver results as defendants performed little or no work on the promised loan modification applications. The case, Cox, et al. v. Certified Financial Protection Group, et al., (No. RIC-1214494) was filed in California Superior Court in Riverside County and seeks monetary damages, including those related to the illegal upfront and monthly membership fees paid by plaintiffs, and injunctive relief to put a halt to the deceptive practices of the named defendants. [Click Here for Complaint]
The Preliminary Injunction replaces the Temporary Restraining Order the Lawyers’ Committee and Latham & Watkins had previously sought and, on October 9, obtained on behalf of plaintiffs against defendants’ illegal operations and conduct. [Link to TRO]
Homeowners who believe they have been victims of a scam are encouraged to call 888-995-HOPE (4673) or visit www.preventloanscams.org and click the “Report a Scam!” link.
Read more about our loan modification scam litigation here:
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The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCRUL), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2013 as we continue our quest of “Moving America Toward Justice.” The principal mission of the Lawyers' Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law, particularly in the areas of fair housing and fair lending; community development; employment; voting; education and environmental justice. For more information about the LCCRUL, visit www.lawyerscommittee.org.
Latham & Watkins is a global law firm with approximately 2,000 attorneys in 31 offices. One of the hallmarks of the firm is its Pro Bono program; Latham & Watkins lawyers and professional staff performed approximately 173,000 hours of pro bono work in 2011 and more than 1.8 million hours in the past decade, valued in excess of $675 million.
For more information on Latham & Watkins, please visit the website at www.lw.com.