Marketers who helped promote an alleged home loan modification scheme will be banned from the mortgage relief and debt relief industries under a court settlement resolving charges by the Federal Trade Commission that they violated the law by promoting the scam, which conned consumers into paying hefty fees for worthless mortgage relief services.

The FTC filed a complaint in June 2014 against the Utah-based operation led by Philip Danielson, the Danielson Law Group and several closely associated companies and individuals, as part of an enforcement sweep targeting operations that fraudulently pitched loan modifications to consumers. 

The settlement announced with Linden Financial Group LLC ends the litigation. In the face of rising consumer complaints against Danielson Law Group, Linden Financial Group was formed to serve as the marketing arm for the defendants’ enterprise, the FTC contends. 

Linden Financial Group prepared and mailed ads for mortgage relief services that were designed to look like they were coming from lawyers in the recipients’ states. The FTC also alleges that Linden Financial Group received money from the payment processor set up to collect funds from consumers and then used this money to fund expenses and funnel cash to Philip Danielson and others.

In February, the FTC announced settlements with the other individual and corporate defendants in the case that resulted in orders banning the defendants from offering mortgage assistance relief services and from participating in the debt relief industry.

The defendants, according to the FTC, lured consumers into paying $500 to $3,900 by falsely promising that attorneys would negotiate loan modifications that would substantially reduce the consumers’ mortgage payments. 

Under the proposed settlement, Linden Financial Group also is prohibited from violating the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, and is required to have competent and reliable evidence to support claims made about the benefits, performance, or efficacy of any financial product or service. The proposed order imposes a judgment of $28.6 million against Linden Financial Group and requires the company to turn over its financial accounts to the agency.

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