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Ashland debt manager fined

The state has fined an Ashland debt manager and his company for violating several state laws regarding loan modifications.

The Department of Consumer and Business Services fined David Richard Lies and his company Home Rescue Financial Services LLC of Ashland $30,000 and ordered him to cease and desist violating Oregon's laws related to loan modifications.

The department said Home Rescue collected $1,500 from a homeowner with the promise of helping stop a foreclosure and obtain a loan modification, but never delivered on those services. Oregon law allows a maximum upfront fee of $50 for loan modifications or any other debt-management service. Companies providing those services also must be registered with the state as a debt management company or licensed as a mortgage broker — Home Rescue held neither registration nor license.

Home Rescue violated several other parts of the law, including failing to disclose terms of the contract and fees, failing to provide the homeowner with an analysis showing how its services would be beneficial, and relaying misleading information in an advertisement.

The requirements are part of House Bill 2191, which protects consumers from debt reduction and loan modification scams. Since the law took effect in 2010, the state has received more than 200 complaints and obtained about $51,000 in refunds for consumers who have been overcharged or paid for services they never received. The department has 88 investigations under way regarding potential violations of the law.

DCBS has developed consumer information, available online at http://www.cbs.state.or.us/dfcs/debt_mgmt/faq_consumers.html, to help Oregonians understand their rights under House Bill 2191 and to check to see whether a company is registered. Consumers can also call the department toll-free at 1-866-814-9710.