Fake law firm scammed troubled homeowners out of millions through telemarketing

Rodis Law Group and America’s Law Group advertised nationwide on radio stations and the internet.

Consumers paid fees ranging from $3,500 upwards. They thought that the alleged Southern California law firm would help them avoid foreclosure. But the head of the firm, Bryan D’Antonio was a convicted felon who had previously been sentenced to four years in federal prison for a medical billing scam.

He also was subject to an injunction prohibiting him from any involvement with telemarketing.

D’Antonio plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. He admitted that he started Rodis Law Group while he was on supervised release from his prior conviction.

Misrepresented services

RLG and ALG sold their services through a telemarketing operation and employees routinely misrepresented the services that would be provided.

D’Antonio admitted that, between October 2008 and June 2009, he participated in a scheme with Ronald Rodis, Charles Wayne Farris and others to induce homeowners to pay between $3,500 and up for the services of RLG and ALG.

RLG and ALG advertised on radio stations nationwide, stated that the companies consisted of “a team of experienced attorneys” who were “highly skilled in negotiating lower interest rates and even lowering your principal balance.”

In fact, RLG and ALG were telemarketing operations that never had teams of experienced attorneys. Mostly, Ronald Rodis was the only attorney at RLG.

Telemarketers falsely stated that RLG and ALG routinely obtained positive results for homeowners, including lower monthly payments, reductions in principal balance and lower interest rates.  In fact, positive results were rarely achieved for the clients.

They did not disclose that the firms were owned and operated by Bryan D’Antonio, a convicted felon who was enjoined from engaging in telemarketing.

In a plea agreement filed in federal court, D’Antonio admitted that the RLG and ALG schemes fraudulently obtained approximately $9 million from his victims.

Charles Wayne Farris and Ronald Rodis, both previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

 

If you need further information,  please call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

 

 

Read More

12 Types of Accident Injuries and 11 Kinds of Damages

The following are some examples of the types of injury resulting from accidents:

  • Neck Injuries: There are many kinds of neck injuries, including whiplash, fractured vertebrae, soft tissue injuries such as tendon or ligament injuries, and others.
  • Back Injuries: These injuries can include broken vertebrae, herniated discs, torn or damaged soft tissue including muscle tissue, ligaments and tendons and other injuries.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: Depending on the location and severity of the injury, the person may suffer partial or complete paralysis
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries: The person may have both physical and cognitive disabilities. Recovery may depend on surgery and rehabilitation treatment in an attempt to help the person restore the ability to walk, speak or regain basic functions.
  • Burn Injuries:  Many severe burns will require skin grafts to restore the appearance of the victim. Some burns leave permanent, disfiguring scars and hinder mobility.
  • Amputations: A sudden impact that crushes or severs a limb is a catastrophic injury. Various types of incidents can lead to the need for amputation, such as when a limb is crushed or partially severed. Prosthetics and other adaptive devices are usually very expensive
  • Fractures: Broken bones vary in severity, ranging from a cracked bone to the  cases in which bones break through the skin, increasing the chances of  infections, or cases in which the bone is shattered and will require surgery with the installation of screws and rods.
  • Shoulder Injuries: A painful shoulder can occur after a fall, or a motorcycle or car accident. These injuries also occur in the workplace.  There are resulting motion issues because of the joint and muscle structure.
  • Knee Injuries: A knee injury can leave the victim with a permanent impairment. The recovery from a severe knee injury can be lengthy.
  • Nerve Damage and Chronic Pain:  Resolving bruised, torn or crushed nerve tissue can be impossible. The victim may be left with diminished sensation.
  • Disfiguring Injuries: Severe lacerations, cuts, burns and abrasions often leave permanent scars. The location of the scar can take an emotional toll on the victim. Facial scarring or other visible scars must be compensated not only for the medical costs, but also for the emotional impact on the victim.
  • Pain & Suffering: An accident victim may also be entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering that resulted from the injury.
  • Emotional Distress: Psychological injury may be compensable. Unlike pain and suffering, emotional distress may be compensable in the absence of a physical injury.

There are several types of damages that can be pursued depending on the case. Damages may include the following:

  • Costs of all medical care.
  • Hospital and doctor’s bills.
  • Rehabilitation costs.
  • Medication costs.
  • Transportation costs.
  • Lost wages, current and future.
  • Diminished earning capacity.
  • Property damage.
  • Compensation for pain and suffering.
  • Compensation for emotional distress.
  • Compensation for loss of quality of life.

If you have suffered an injury and need help, contact Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

Read More

4 Ways To Get Your Bills Paid After an Accident

 

When you get hurt in any kind of accident, you will need medical treatment. You will also have medical bills.

A lawyer can help. A lawyer will access all possible sources of insurance to get your medical bills paid. There are alternatives to paying medical bills yourself.

 

‘Med Pay’ in Premises Liability Cases

If you are injured at someone’s house, there may be insurance coverage through homeowner policies for medical bills. This insurance is called “med pay” coverage. It pays the medical bills of victims without regard to who is at fault.

There are different amounts available for different policies. Typically, med pay policies are available for $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000. There are strict time limits within which the bills must be submitted to the property owner’s insurance policy.

 

Workers Compensation Coverage for Workplace Injuries

Workers compensation insurance covers injuries that happen at the workplace.  It does not require the payment of deductibles. In fact, it pays all medical bills associated with injuries you suffered at work.

Even if you are paid in cash and work “off the books,” you still may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

 

Other Options for Paying Medical Bills

Medicaid, Medicare or private health insurance may be available to pay your medical bills. Finally, many healthcare providers are willing to treat victims of personal injury accidents on a lien. This means payment will not be required at the time you receive care. The doctors will wait until your case is settled or tried. An agreement is reached wherein the medical bills will be paid directly from your settlement proceeds.

 

If you have had an accident, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

Read More

Clamping Down on Lenders—Again

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just issued a new rule for mortgage servicers that provides greater protections to borrowers, surviving family, and persons in bankruptcy.
The changes also add protections for consumers when their mortgage is transferred to another servicer.
The new rule makes several big changes: mortgage servicers would have to offer loss mitigation to borrowers more than once over the life of the loan, but only if the borrower became current and ran into trouble again later.
In addition, the rule clarifies when a borrower becomes delinquent and how a servicer can prevent wrongful foreclosures and avoid dual-tracking. The rule also specifies several requirements for early intervention, loss mitigation, information requests, and prompt crediting of payments. Under the rule, if a borrower dies, servicers would be required to promptly communicate with surviving family or others who have a legal right to the home.
Following is a detailed list of the added requirements for servicers in the new rule:

  • Mortgage servicers would have to expand foreclosure protections more than once over the life of the loan. Servicers must create policies and procedures to promptly communicate with “successors in interest,” if the borrower dies. Those who have a legal interest in the home are given the same protections as the original borrower.
  • Servicers must provide borrowers in bankruptcy with periodic statements including specific information tailored for bankruptcy.
  • Servicers are required to notify borrowers promptly and in writing when a loss mitigation application is complete, so that borrowers know the status of the application.
  • When servicing is transferred the new servicer must comply with loss mitigation requirements within the same time frames that applied to the former servicer.

Most provisions in the final rule will take effect 12 months after its publication in the Federal Register, which is imminent. However, provisions on successor in interest and periodic statements for borrowers in bankruptcy will take effect 18 months after publication in the Federal Register.

If you have a foreclosure pending or need further info, please call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

Read More

U.S Bank Settles Mortgage Class Action Over Forced Insurance

U.S. Bank Force-Placed Insurance Class Action Settlement

A settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit alleging U.S. Bank NA received unauthorized benefits by imposing force-placed insurance policies on borrowers who lacked acceptable coverage.

If you were charged by U.S. Bank for lender-placed insurance you may be eligible for benefits from the class action settlement.

The U.S Bank class action lawsuit involves lender-placed insurance, which is insurance placed on a borrower’s property when the borrower fails to maintain an insurance policy that is acceptable to the mortgage lender or when the borrower’s insurance lapses.

According to the class action lawsuit, U.S. Bank placed the insurance and received “kickbacks” from the insurance companies.  This caused the cost and amount of coverage to be excessive.

The defendants deny the allegations and maintain that their conduct was not unlawful. However, they have agreed to settle.

Class Members of the U.S. Bank force-placed insurance settlement include all U.S. borrowers who, between April 8, 2009 and June 30, 2015, were charged by U.S. Bank under a hazard, flood, flood-gap or wind-only lender-placed insurance (LPI) policy for residential property, and who either paid to U.S. Bank the net premium for that LPI policy or who did not pay and still owe U.S. Bank the net premium for the LPI policy.

NOTE: If you were a Class Member in Stephen Ellsworth v. U.S. Bank NA, et al., Case No. 3:12-cv-02506-LB, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, you are not eligible to participate in this class action settlement.

What you can collect depends on various factors:

  • If you were charged for a hazard force-placed insurance policy on or before Nov. 30, 2011, you will receive 12.5 percent of the net premium.
  • If you were charged for a flood, flood-gap or wind force-placed insurance policy on or after Dec. 1, 2011, you will receive seven percent of the net premium.
  • If you were charged for a flood, flood-gap or wind force-placed insurance policy between Apr. 8, 2009 and June 30, 2015, you will receive seven percent of the net premium.

Class Members who submit timely and valid claims will receive either a cash payment or a reduction in the amount they currently owe U.S. Bank.

CLICK HERE TO FILE A CLAIM »

The Claim Form deadline will be 60 days after the settlement becomes final. According to the settlement website, the Claim Form deadline will be no earlier than Aug. 12, 2016. However this date MAY be extended.

Philip Jackson, et al. v. U.S. Bank NA, et al., Case No. 1:14-cv-21252, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Claims Administrator

Claims Administrator
c/o Rust Consulting
P.O. Box 2469
Faribault, MN 55021-9169
1-877-877-0460

Class Counsel

Adam M. Moskowitz
KOZYAK TROPIN & THROCKMORTON PA

Aaron S. Podhurst
PODHURST ORSECK PA

Lance A. Harke
HARKE CLASBY & BUSHMAN LLP

Defense Counsel

Counsel for U.S. Bank:
Skip Durocher
DORSEY & WHITNEY LLP

Counsel for Assurant Defendants:
Frank G. Burt
CARLTON FIELDS JORDEN BURT PA

If you need further info, contact Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

Read More

What Causes Chest Pain After a Car Accident?

Chest Pain After a Car Accident

If a person is in a car accident and complains of chest pain, it can be serious.

Chest pain can be caused by abdominal, lung, and heart injuries. They are common results of car accidents.  They can be caused by the seatbelt or by the steering wheel.

Abdominal Injuries

Car accidents can cause different types of injuries such as damage to internal organs, internal bleeding, ruptured abdominal aorta, or a ruptured spleen. The most common is broken ribs.  Some common symptoms include tenderness in the rib area and pain while breathing.

Lung Injuries

Car accidents can cause lung injuries, resulting in severe chest pain. A punctured lung is a condition that results when the lung membrane gets punctured due to impact or because of an object penetrating into the lungs. If left untreated, a punctured lung can develop into a collapsed lung.

Heart Injuries

Any injury to the heart can be life threatening. Impact against the steering wheel can cause heart injuries, and in many cases, there are no immediate and evident symptoms. The most commonly reported injury is a myocardial contusion or bruising. Symptoms of these types of injuries include arrhythmias. Many symptoms of heart injuries following car accidents may not appear until a few weeks or even months after the crash.

If you experience chest pain after the accident, you should go to the doctor immediately.

If you are the victim of a car accident, who suffers a serious abdominal, heart or lung injury you will be faced with numerous medical bills. It is important to seek advice from an attorney who can help get the compensation you deserve.

If you have been in a car accident, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation to discuss your case and the compensation that is available to you.

Read More

Motorcycle Accidents and the Cost of Surviving

Motorcycle crashes are among the deadliest of all traffic accidents, due to bike riders’ lack of bodily protection. Motorcyclists are not only more likely to suffer serious bodily injury than other road travelers, but they are also more likely to be killed as the result of crashes.  The most serious injuries facing motorcyclists are those which result in brain trauma.

Brain Trauma

Brain trauma can be caused either as the direct result of a crash, be it with another vehicle or a stationary object such as a electric pole, or as a result of the force of the rider’s head hitting the ground after the initial impact. Such crashes can be particularly dangerous, and can result in various severe injuries including concussions and traumatic brain injuries.

Concussion

Concussions can occur when the brain is violently shaken against the inside of the skull, resulting in a mild traumatic brain injury. Symptoms of concussion include relatively minor effects such as headaches and nausea, to more serious effects such as reduced reaction times and the temporary loss of brain functions. Even motorcyclists wearing helmets have a high probability of concussion because the helmet does not fully protect the brain from moving in the skull after impact.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Simply riding a motorcycle puts you at risk of suffering a major traumatic brain injury in the event of a crash. Symptoms of a major traumatic brain injury include effects, such as: dizziness, sensitivity to light and sounds, loss of consciousness, confusion and disorientation.

More serious long term effects of TBI include: depression, memory loss, loss of coordination, permanent loss of faculties or ability to use limbs, or death.

 

The Cost of Surviving

If you have survived a motorcycle crash, you are likely facing medical expenses and a fight to recover. There are various legal options to recover money damages for your injuries.

If you have been the victim of a motorcycle crash, contact Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 to discuss your case and learn more about the compensation that is available to you. 

 

Read More

Product Liability and E-cigarette Lawsuits

The effects of e-cigarettes on your long-term health are still unknown and a topic of  controversy. But there is an immediate danger faced by vapers that smokers do have to contend with. E-cigarettes can explode, sometimes on the charger, but also in your mouth causing severe injuries and disfigurement. The risk of explosions is so great that the U.S. Department of Transportation banned e-cigarettes from checked luggage on planes.

Horrifying Explosions

In 2015, a Colorado Springs man was hospitalized in critical condition after his e-cigarette exploded in his mouth. He suffered burns to his mouth, shattered teeth, facial fractures and a broken neck.

Rachel Berven’s e-cigarette exploded in her mouth and spewed battery acid over her leaving her with cracked teeth, facial scars, and burns on her legs.

In 2015, Joseph Cavins lost the sight in one eye when his e-cigarette exploded, smashing two cheekbones, according to the lawsuit he and his wife filed for his injuries.

In 2016, CBS reported that an e-cigarette had exploded in a man’s mouth, sending him to the hospital for more than a week. Several of his teeth were shattered. A piece was embedded in his tongue and had to be surgically removed. He suffered second degree burns. His tongue and lips had to be repaired.

Exploding E-Cigarette Lawsuits

According to the Wall Street Journal, dozens of lawsuits have been filed, in several states, as a result of exploding e-cigarettes. One of the difficulties with e-cigarette lawsuits is that most of the devices, like many defective products, are made in China. That means compensation must be sought from others along the supply chain.

But, that should not prevent victims of e-cigarette explosions from recovering compensation. In October, 2015, a Riverside jury awarded $1.9 million to a California woman who suffered second degree burns to her buttocks, upper thighs, and hand when her e-cigarette exploded while charging. Although the device was made in China, she was able to win by suing the distributor, wholesaler, and retailer.

If you were injured by a defective e-cigarette, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

Read More

$2 Billion Ocwen Whistleblower Lawsuit

This whistleblower lawsuit alleges that Ocwen gave false information to the federal government, resulting in its executives receiving billions in incentive payments.

The whistleblower lawsuit was filed in 2014, and alleged that Ocwen lied about their compliance with the Home Affordable Modification Program guidelines.

These guidelines are designed to lower interest rates and payments of homeowners, as well as provide major assistance by extending terms and forgiving principal in order to avoid foreclosure.

The plaintiffs further claim that Ocwen lied to the federal government, submitting false certifications as well as other false information regarding one of their programs.

The program led to homeowners losing their property and allowed Ocwen executives to receive approximately $2 billion in incentive payments, not from Ocwen, but from the federal government. (The Ocwen Whistleblower Lawsuit is the United States of America et al v. Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC et al., Case No. 4:12-cv-00543.)

Whistleblower Lawsuits

The federal government relies on the help of whistleblowers in companies to report and expose deception, from lying in reports to healthcare or financial fraud.

Taking on the role of a whistleblower is intimidating for employees; they fear that they could be  fired. However, there are laws to ensure that whistleblowers are protected from such a discriminatory action.

Because of the important role of a whistleblower in exposing fraud against the government, the whistleblower is usually awarded a substantial portion of the whistleblower lawsuit settlement money. This can be between 15 and 30 percent.

If you are of the opinion that your current or former employer is acting fraudulently against the federal government, you may be able to call attention to this problem by filing a whistleblower lawsuit.

In general, whistleblower and qui tam lawsuits are filed individually by each plaintiff and are not class actions. Whistleblowers can only join this investigation if they are reporting fraud against the government, meaning that the government must be the victim, and that the alleged fraud should be a substantial loss of money.

If you think you have a whistleblower claim, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

Read More

Class action lawsuit alleges mortgage companies defrauded elderly homeowners who had reverse mortgages

There is currently a class action lawsuit against reverse mortgage companies accused of conspiring to defraud borrowers.

Taking out a reverse mortgage on your home seems like a sensible way to pay for needed repairs and preserve the house for your heirs.

But a $5 million class-action lawsuit filed this month alleges that two mortgage companies conspired to defraud thousands of elderly clients by charging them for home inspections that were illegal. The charges were added to their loan amounts, resulting in less equity in the house.

Reverse mortgages, also known as home-equity conversions, allow older homeowners to tap into the equity in their homes while continuing to live in them. Only people 62 or older are eligible. No payments are owed to the lender as long as the homeowner lives in the house. The owner continues to pay taxes, insurance and maintenance costs and keeps the title to the home, but once he or she dies, moves out or sells it, the loan and interest must be paid before any remaining money goes to the estate.

If a borrower fails to keep up with taxes or insurance, he or she goes into default and the mortgage company can foreclose on the house. If a loan is in default, the company is allowed to conduct “drive-by” home inspections to assess the state of the property and verify that the owner is living there. The cost of the inspection is added to the amount of the loan.

While such inspections are generally limited by law to once every 30 days, the suit says, that Texas-based Champion Mortgage Co., used automated software to trigger “repeated, unreasonable, and unnecessary” inspections several times a week or even more than once a day and charged thousands of home owners for them.

Champion contracts with a Michigan-based company, Celink, to do the inspections. That company is also named in the suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

One of the lead plaintiffs in the case fell behind on her property taxes.  Champion sued to foreclose on her home. Legal Counsel for the Elderly, an affiliate of AARP, helped her negotiate a repayment plan, and the suit was dismissed in April.

During the process, a lawyer at LCE noticed extra charges in the homeowner’s statements. Four times between 2014 and 2015, she had been charged for two or three inspections in one month. The charges mirrored similar ones levied on other reverse-mortgage clients.

If you need additional info, call Attorney Linda Fessler at 213-446-6766 for a free consultation.

Read More