The First District Appellate Court has determined in a recent ruling that individuals and companies engaged in predatory loan modification assistance endeavors cannot target protected classes.
The case, People ex rel. Madigan v. Wildermuth, stands for the proposition that predatory loan modification assistance companies can also violate the Illinois Human Rights Act, 775 ILCS 5/3-102(B) when they specifically target minority groups or other protected classes. People ex rel. Madigan v. Wildermuth, 2016 IL App (1st) 143592.
The Illinois Attorney General has accused Matthew Wildermuth, George Kleanthis, and the Loan Modification Network, LLC, of not only conducting a predatory loan modification assistance program but also specifically targeting African-Americans and Latinos.
The question at issue upon appeal was whether the Illinois Human Rights Act might apply to this specific situation, and the First District answered in the affirmative. The Court did not determine whether the Defendants were actually engaged in predatory loan modification scams or whether they were actually directing the scams at minorities.
It is important to have legal representation when one’s home has fallen into foreclosure, but it is a necessity to vet the attorney or assistance group before engaging their services. Many homeowners in Illinois employ unscrupulous “law firms” based in California or Florida to help them obtain loan modifications. It is best to obtain local counsel that is subject to the Illinois rules related to loan modification assistance. The various bar associations and courts maintain lists of attorneys in good standing that provide assistance in foreclosure defense. When in doubt, check with these organizations.