North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper's office last week banned a foreclosure assistance company from offering loan modification and foreclosure assistance services in the state.

Wake County (N.C.) Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones this week granted Cooper’s request for a default judgment against Peoples First Financial Inc., based in California, which permanently bans the company from performing or offering foreclosure assistance, loan modification and debt relief services in North Carolina.

The judgment also orders Peoples First Financial to pay $9,500 in refunds to consumers and $25,000 in civil penalties to local public schools.

The AG's office was first alerted to Peoples First Financial in 2009 after hearing from consumers who paid a $2,500 upfront fee for loan modification services they never received. Cooper filed suit against the company, alleging it charged homeowners an advance fee for loan modification which is illegal under North Carolina law. Shortly after the suit was filed, People First Financial shut down its operations and went out of business.

"Scammers undermine the good work being done by legitimate housing counselors to help families keep their homes," says Cooper. "There’s real help for available for free for North Carolina homeowners who want options to avoid foreclosure."

This is the second time in January that the AG's office has banned a loan modification from doing business in North Carolina, see story.

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