By Fred Schulte, The Center for Public Integrity
In 2012, after a heart attack left him too ill to work and unable to make his mortgage payments on time, John M. Green turned to the Litvin Law Firm for help.
Green said he paid the firm some $8,000 over the next two years to negotiate better terms with the lender on his house in Baker, Louisiana. But he lost the home anyway, he says, because the Brooklyn, New York, law firm did little beyond taking his money.
“My experience was horrible,” said Green, 72, who is back at work part-time as a school teacher. “They didn’t follow through with anything they said they were going to do.”
It’s not just former Litvin clients like Green who are aggrieved. The attorneys general of New York and Maryland have accused the firm of preying on distressed homeowners by failing to deliver the legal firepower it promised.
People deeply in arrears on their mortgages wasted money they could ill afford to lose, while dozens lost their homes, Maryland officials charged. The case, filed in 2014, targets the firm and its founder, attorney Gennady Litvin. Both state proceedings are pending.
Litvin would not comment.
Since 2010, tens of thousands of strapped homeowners have alleged they were cheated by lawyers or marketers boasting ties to law firms, whom they trusted to renegotiate mortgage loans or stave off foreclosure actions, a Center for Public Integrity investigation found.
Since 2010, a coalition of consumer and law enforcement groups organized by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has tracked companies and law firms that promise to “rescue” homeowners from foreclosure and mostly fail to deliver. The group has collected more than 46,000 written complaints from homeowners whose losses totaled more than $100 million — nearly two-thirds linked to apparent misconduct by lawyers or their associates.
Filed under: foreclosure