Division of Banks Orders Unlicensed Mortgage Lenders in Avon to Cease Operations that Targeted Immigrants
BOSTON -The Massachusetts Division of Banks (DOB) announced today that it issued a cease and desist order against American Dream Home Management Program, Inc. (“ADHMP”), which offered mortgage lender and broker services in Avon and on the Internet. The order was issued against the business, its owner and director after learning they were engaged in an unlicensed and illegal mortgage lending business.
“This unlicensed and illegal entity is placing consumers at considerable risk” said Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation Undersecretary Barbara Anthony. “This company is taking advantage of members of an immigrant population and taking sizable amounts of consumer funds with the promise of loans at questionable terms. Consumers should only use brokers and lenders that are properly licensed.”
DOB recently received information that ADHMP was soliciting Massachusetts consumers via the Internet to apply for mortgages through a program with interest rates as low as 2 percent and terms of either 15, 20 or 30 years. ADHMP’s program also required consumers to pay a weekly membership fee of $75 until the loan was funded, 60 percent of which was retained by ADHMP for administrative costs, while the other 40 percent was escrowed and applied towards closing costs. This process could take between 3 and 14 months.
ADHMP is owned and operated by President Jean Philemond and managed by Director Hamid Mahmoodi. It predominately served immigrant populations located in the Greater Boston and Brockton areas. This company is not licensed to operate as either a mortgage broker or mortgage lender in Massachusetts. Further, Philemond and Mahmoodi are not licensed as mortgage loan originators in Massachusetts.
“This company has blatantly disregarded state statutes and regulations and is not meeting the most basic of consumer protection and licensing standards. Consumers should be aware of the associated risks and that they could lose their money without any recourse or recovery,” said Banks Commissioner David J. Cotney. “Mortgage brokers, mortgage lenders, and mortgage loan originators must comply with the statutory, licensing, and bonding provisions if they intend to offer services to Massachusetts consumers. The Division will continue its efforts to identify and pursue these types of unlicensed entities that prey upon on our consumers.”
Mortgage brokers, mortgage lenders and mortgage loan originators are required to be licensed by the Division under state law. Consumers are advised to:
- Ensure the company and individuals they do business with are properly licensed by accessing www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org.
- Get disclosures for all elements of the transaction. Make certain terms and conditions accurately match those originally discussed with the lender.
- Shop different mortgage brokers, mortgage lenders and financial institutions to see which ones offer better rates and services.
- Lenders and Brokers are required to provide disclosure of fees up front and homebuyers are encouraged to compare these costs to other lender options.
Anyone with additional questions regarding this matter may contact DOB’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-495-BANK (2265) x 501 or at www.mass.gov/dob.
The Division of Banks is an agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation and oversees state-chartered banks and credit unions, check sellers, debt collectors, foreign transmittal agencies, mortgage lenders and brokers.
The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education, and also works to ensure that the businesses its agencies regulate treat all Massachusetts consumers fairly. Follow the Office at its blog, on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer.