(CLEVELAND, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a lawsuit against foreclosure rescue company Diversified Real Estate Consultants LLC (DREC), its affiliates, and its owner for multiple violations of Ohio consumer laws.
"This company continually misled consumers," Attorney General DeWine said. "It charged substantial upfront fees for services and results that it promised but never delivered. It also encouraged homeowners to default on their mortgage loans, falsely stating that defaulting on their loans would help them get a loan modification. Such statements are completely false and caused homeowners to risk losing their homes."
According to Attorney General DeWine's lawsuit, filed in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, DREC is a Florida registered company operating from Ohio that offered mortgage assistance relief services to Ohio consumers, even though it never registered to do business in Ohio. DREC charged and accepted fees of $500 to $3,495 from homeowners, promising them reduced monthly mortgage payments or better interest rates, and represented a "100% money-back guarantee." Despite the company's claims, consumers received no help and no refunds.
The Ohio Attorney General's Office currently has 37 total complaints against DREC dating back to 2009. Of those complaints, 18 are unresolved, including seven complaints from Ohio consumers. In the 18 unresolved complaints, consumers reported total losses of more than $36,000.
In addition to DREC, the Attorney General's lawsuit names defendants DREAM Management USA (DREAM) and Precision Processing Solutions International LLC (PPSI) – Ohio companies that provided DREC research, analysis, and documentation processing services, in direct connection with DREC's mortgage relief assistance services. The suit also names North Canton resident Daniel J. DePasquale, owner and operator of DREC, DREAM, and PPSI.
The lawsuit charges the defendants with violations of Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act, Debt Adjusters Act, and Telephone Solicitation Sales Act. It seeks a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, civil penalties, and full restitution for consumers.
Attorney General DeWine reminded Ohioans never to pay upfront fees for help avoiding foreclosure or obtaining mortgage relief. By law, companies are prohibited from charging and accepting fees for mortgage assistance relief services until consumers receive and accept a loan modification offer from their lenders. Additionally, Ohioans can call Save the Dream Ohio at 888-404-4674 for free foreclosure assistance.
View the DREC complaint.
To report unfair business practices, consumers should contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov