Baltimore Home Ownership Program LLC, NowICanBuy LLC and owner Dwight Williams must pay $45,000 in restitution to consumers who bought mortgage loan assistance and credit improvement services. The settlement with the Maryland Attorney Generals office resolves charges that the loan procurement and credit consulting firms misrepresented services and took part in illegal activity.
The Attorney General's office alleged the companies offered mortgage and credit repair consulting services without a required license, collected illegal advance fees and made false representations about the nature of their services and their success. The companies and Williams also are barred from offering similar services for at least two years.
In one case, a Baltimore Home Ownership Program advertisement told consumers, "Once we determine your eligibility for our program, we will absolutely get you approved for your very own home," the Attorney General's office said. The office alleged many clients subsequently didn't receive mortgage approvals.
"The process of buying a home can be overwhelming, but consumers shouldn't have to fear being victimized," Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said in a statement. "Our office and other state agencies, as well as reputable nonprofit organizations, offer resources to help Marylanders navigate the home-buying process."
The settlement requires reimbursements for consumers who paid for services before May 5, 2014. An additional penalty of $230,000 will be waived if the defendants comply with the settlement, the AG's office said.
NowICanBuy LLC has offices in Newark, N.J., Cranford, N.J. and Pikesville, Md., according to its website. The company didn't return a message seeking comment.