Lucas Law Center Reports Saving 500 Homes Before FTC Files Injunction to Temporarily Close Firm
At just after 9:00 AM this morning, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission), served a temporary injunction requiring Lucas Law Center in Aliso Viejo, California to cease operations until the firm appears in federal court next week to defend itself against allegations related to advertising and operating practices.
Lucas Law Center is owned by attorney Paul Lucas, who according to the firm’s Website, graduated first in his class in Real Estate Sales Transactions, and Secured Interests in Real Property from Southwestern University School of Law in 1992. After graduating from the University of Western Ontario, and the University of Windsor’s graduate business school in finance, he pursued a career in corporate Canada with a fortune 50 company while at the same time worked as a consultant negotiating housing deals for his family’s 20 year land developing concern.
I’m on my way to Lucas Law to see what’s happening and will be speaking with Paul Lucas at length later today. I do not know the nature of the investigation being conducted by the FTC, but my source is inside the firm and therefore has first hand knowledge. There’s no question that most firms have had some internal operating issues over the last year… and that should come as no surprise whatsoever to anyone. After all, the firms that offer to help homeowners at risk of losing their homes, by negotiating with their banks to obtain loan modifications, have not, and still don’t have it easy by any means.
A loan modification, one might remember, is like a unicorn or flying carpet, it doesn’t exist. The banks simply do not have a “Give-The-Money-Back Department”. Imagine if you owed $10,000 on your car, for example, and had a monthly payment of $500… and you tried to call your bank to ask if they would lower your balance to $7,500 and take the payment to $350. That’s a “loan modification”.
I know, someone apparently has told President Obama that it was easy to get a “loan modification” from a bank… I say that because I’m almost certain that he hasn’t personally needed one… but the people that told him that… well, they were representing bankers who didn’t want the government meddling in how the banks do business, or forcing the banks to do things they didn’t want to do.
Just two days ago, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston published a study that was fascinating. It concluded that banks don’t like to do loan modifications because… wait for it… “they’re not profitable”. When I read it, I almost ruined my computer when I spit out the soda I was drinking at the time. It reminded me of another study that was conducted by Princeton a couple of years back. In that study they concluded that money does, in fact… buy some happiness. And if you think I’m making up one word of any of that… look it up Pal, because I am nowhere near creative to come up with those kind of straight lines.
Homeowners, of course, have no real idea of what’s going on when it comes to loan modifications. They hear the President say that they should be free… that they’re easy to get by calling one’s bank… and that he’s even set up nonprofit counselors all over the place that are standing by to help homeowners get them. If you run into someone that believes any of that to be even close to true, ask them if they’ve ever personally tried to get a loan modification from a bank… and they will say “well, no… not personally,” which is their way of telling you that they’re “responsible” and don’t live above their means the way you obviously do.
As a result, homeowners complain about loan modification firms when things don’t go well, which is quite often… maybe even most of the time. They complain that it took months and months… that they didn’t get what they wanted… that they were told something that didn’t happen… I’ve heard everything by now. Sometimes they’re right and the firm they hired was in fact a scam. But other times, while they may have every right to be mad, they’re complaining about the wrong entity. They should be angry at their bank… not the company helping them obtain their loan modification.
Remember this… People can be trusted to act in their own best interest, and it’s in the best interest of the legitimate loan modification firm that your loan modification be completed in 24 hours… that your principle is reduced, and that your monthly payment is reduced to 20% of your 16 year-old’s income. When a loan modification takes six months, and is a real pain in the tush… it’s not the loan modification firm’s fault… it’s the bank.
You see, firms that are scams don’t even try to modify loans… they just take money and do nothing. But the firms that spend a lot of time and money, struggling to get loans modified, they’re not scams. Some may be better at getting loans modified than others… but they’re not scams.
I’ll update this report on Lucas Law Center in the next few days, but at this point, although the FTC will close the law firm today, Paul Lucas says that he will cooperate completely, has done absolutely nothing wrong, and will soon be back in business.
By the way, as I head out the door to visit with the firm and the FTC investigators… Paul is from Canada… and his parents work at the firm… and you’ve got to admit… that doesn’t sound like someone who’s doing something terribly wrong. So, let’s not convict anyone early, shall we?