Following a lawsuit brought by Illinois Cook County State’s Attorney Richard Devine, a fraudulent mortgage lending company has been fined $250,000 and banned from doing business in Illinois.
Bold Funding, Inc. and its owner-operator, Bruce Wagner, were found to have violated Illinois law by falsely promising to secure private funding for loans to save the homes of persons who were in foreclosure for a fee ranging from $300 to $6,670.
In Civil Court on April 18, 2006, Judge Julia Nowicki ordered Bold Funding and Bruce Wagner to refund $115,858 in application fees to 74 former customers who never received any funding from the Defendants. Bold Funding and Bruce Wagner were also fined $250,000, and the Defendants were permanently banned from providing any services in Illinois related to residential mortgage loans.
“The taking of monies from vulnerable homeowners in foreclosure under false pretenses is reprehensibleX,” Devine said. “Any company which purports to help homeowners who are in foreclosure must follow the law and fulfill its promises to assist its customers.”
In 2004, Bold Funding maintained its “headquarters” at a commercial post office box at 40 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, Illinois. Bold Funding also operated a website at www.boldfunding.com and sponsored hundreds of commercials on local and out-of-state radio stations. On its website and radio commercials, Bold Funding claimed that it could save homes from foreclosure even after a Sheriff s sale. Homeowners in foreclosure sent thousands of dollars to Bold Funding under the belief that Bold Funding would secure funding to refinance their mortgages and save their homes. The Defendants did not arrange or provide any funding. Neither Bold Funding nor Bruce Wagner ever possessed an Illinois residential mortgage broker’s or lender’s license.
On November 10, 2004, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office Consumer Fraud Division filed its lawsuit against Bold Funding and Bruce Wagner charging the Defendants with violating the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. This lawsuit was initiated after the State’s Attorney’s Office received numerous complaints from citizens regarding Bold Funding. Bold Funding and Bruce Wagner could not identify anyone who actually received any funding through the efforts of the Defendants. The court heard testimony from one victim who testified that she lost her home, and another victim who testified that he had to file for bankruptcy to save his home after the Defendants failed to obtain funding for him.
Consumers with questions or complaints about other foreclosure “rescue” businesses may contact the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Consumer Fraud Division, at (312) 603-8700, or online at www.statesattorney.org.