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Movers & Shakers April 10, 2010

| April 10, 2010 9:00 PM

Education and the economy the Upbeat Breakfast topic; Idaho bars mortgage modifier

Education and the economy the Upbeat Breakfast topic

The Coeur d'Alene Area Chamber of Commerce Education Committee April's Upbeat Breakfast will be Tuesday morning at The Coeur d'Alene Resort with United Way of Texas Senior Vice President for Public Policy Jason Sabo as the guest speaker.

Sabo will be speaking on the importance of the investment in our children and the importance of education for the economic future of our communities. He covers the topics of early childhood education, to high school graduation and workforce training.

Sabo is a tireless and effective advocate on behalf of children and families throughout the state of Texas. In his years of nonprofit public interest work, Sabo has successfully built coalitions and achieved important educational and child welfare reforms.

The program starts at 7:30 a.m.

Idaho bars mortgage modifier

The Idaho Department of Finance announced the issuance of a cease and desist order today against California-based "Relief Law Center," stemming from alleged unlawful mortgage modification solicitations targeted to Idaho homeowners.

"These solicitations are among the most deceptive we have seen," Finance Department Director Gavin Gee said. Mailers from "Relief Law Center," also doing business as "USA Loan Auditors," were directed to Idaho homeowners and falsely represented that Idaho homeowners' mortgage loans were part of a predatory lending investigation.

Gee called the Relief Law Center's tactics "reprehensible," and said the deceptive mailer was nothing but a ploy to lure financially strapped homeowners to make a telephone call leading to a pitch for payment of $1,200 in upfront fees. The department's investigation is continuing and Gee encouraged Idaho homeowners who have received a solicitation from Relief Law Center or USA Loan Auditors to contact the Idaho Department of Finance at (208) 332-8000 or Idaho toll-free at (888) 346-3378.

For-profit mortgage modification companies must be licensed in Idaho. "They cannot mislead consumers or charge upfront fees," said Gee. "The department has seen too many offers of mortgage relief turn to mortgage grief for homeowners. Mortgage modification scammers don't bother to get licensed, they don't care what they say to make a sale, and they prey on distressed homeowners' vulnerabilities."

Gee said consumers trying to save their homes often end up paying a lot of money up front for mortgage modification services, and get little or nothing in return. He also cautioned homeowners who get solicited for mortgage modification services to check out the license status of the company with the department before agreeing to anything. "Legitimate mortgage modification companies will be properly licensed, will not charge upfront service fees, and will give homeowners the time to check them out."

As an alternative to fee-based mortgage modification services, Gee also encouraged homeowners to consider utilizing one or more of the many free foreclosure relief resources identified on the Department's Web site at http://finance.idaho.gov/mortgage/foreclosureresources.aspx. Consumers who are having trouble paying their mortgages or have received foreclosure notices should immediately contact their lenders. Additionally, if you feel you may be the target or victim of mortgage modification or foreclosure fraud, contact the department at (208) 332-8000 or Idaho toll-free at (888) 346-3378.

If you have a new, relocated or expanded business, or announcement of events, promotions or awards, The Press wants to let our readers know. The service is free and items run Tuesday through Saturday. To get the word on the street on your movers and shakers, call city editor Bill Buley at 664-8176 Ext. 2016 or e-mail bbuley@cdapress.com.

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