A California mortgage broker who was accused of trying to deceive prospects with a mailing piece that appeared to be government sponsored will pay a $15,000 penalty.
A civil judgment has been obtained against Lending First Home Loans Inc., Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo announced Tuesday. The judgment, which was jointly prosecuted with Orange County's district attorney, included $15,000 in civil penalties and a permanent injunction.
The Santa Ana-based corporation, licensed through Blair A. Eldridge, was under investigation for six months over complaints from prospective Monterey County borrowers who received suspicious looking mailers.
The mailers offered "phony federal home loan programs under the label of the 'Community Reinvestment Act Program'," the announcement said. "The mailer bore indicia of federal government sponsorship when in fact it offered nothing more than a private home loan."
Lending First, which had no disciplinary actions listed on the state's license database, should have disclosed its promotion was not endorsed or sponsored by the government as required by California's Business & Professions Code section 17533.6, the statement said.
Between 200 to 240 mailers were received by county residents, the district attorney estimated.
"Be cautious with unsolicited mortgage offers and beware of deceptive claims." the press release warned homeowners. "Persons considering taking loans out on their properties should shop around and always check references."