Maricopa County woman settles mortgage fraud claims

The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has obtained consent judgment against Maricopa County resident Maria Elena Alvarez that prohibits her from providing mortgage or other consumer loan modification services to Arizona consumers after she allegedly defrauded clients.

The judgment arose after the Attorney General’s Office filed a consumer fraud action against Alvarez in November, 2013, alleging that she falsely represented to homeowners that she would help them obtain lower mortgage payments on their homes. She represented that, as part of the mortgage modification process, the homeowners needed to send their mortgage payments to her instead of to their lenders and that she – Alvarez – would forward the payments to the lenders.

Attorney General Horne alleged that rather than forwarding her clients’ mortgage payments to their lenders as she promised, Alvarez instead kept the funds for her own use. The lawsuit alleged that Alvarez’s actions violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, negatively affected her clients’ credit ratings and, in at least one case, caused her client to nearly lose his home after it became scheduled for a Trustee’s Sale. In addition to prohibiting Alvarez from providing mortgage modifications, the judgment also requires her to pay consumer restitution as well as the costs and fees expended by the Attorney General’s Office in investigating her activities and bringing its enforcement action against her.

The Arizona Department of Financial Institutions took a separate enforcement action against Ms. Alvarez for engaging in unlicensed mortgage loan originator activities.

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