American Modification Agency (AMA), a massive Rhode Island loan modification firm looks like there are in hot legal water right now and I am not surprised one bit. I knew the day of reckoning would come for this East Coast loan modification chop shop.
What were my first clues? At the time they were courting me to purchase my company(more on that later), they had a website with nothing really on it. No real information about the firm and the BIG RED FLAG for me was no address or phone number for the firm.
Obviously, companies that do not put their address on their websites do this because they do not want to be found and when you are in business and you do not want to be found, it is usually because your doing people wrong. Right?
This company, AMA, still does not list an address for the firm. Here is their contact page. They don’t even list a phone number! WTF! A company that does not list an address and not even a phone number is as scary as it gets!
The mortgage payments on their Queens home had already shot up $400, to $3,200 a month, when the grim news arrived: Aoah and Equintal Middleton’s 8-year-old daughter’s cancer was back.
So when an agent for Long Island-based American Modification Agency called promising lower payments via a loan modification, it seemed like just the salve they needed.
“We were under a lot of pressure,” says Ms. Middleton, 31. “AMA was our last resort.”
In December 2007, the Middletons paid AMA $1,990, but instead of getting a lower payment, they are now on the brink of losing their two-story home on a quiet block in St. Albans to foreclosure. They had been two months behind when they signed on with AMA, but after following the firm’s instructions to cease making payments and ignore all communication from their lender, the couple fell eight months into arrears. Their home was slated for foreclosure auction Dec. 19, but a last-minute stay granted by a Queens judge has given them a window to work out their own loan modification. They are suing AMA.
Some time last year, I had spoken to the fast talking owner of AMA, Sal Pane because he was trying to make an offer buy my company , Loan Safe Solutions and websites, LoanSafe.org and LoanWorkout.org for a few million dollars. After a few loud conversations and some major drama from these clowns, I finally realized that this fast talking east coast dude and his snake oil selling company seemed to be nothing more than a subprime broker chop shop reincarnated as a loan modification, Multi Level Marketing (MLM) boiler room operation.
These guys called me daily for two months. Waiving cash and trips in front of me, but I never bit. Don’t get me wrong, the money offered would have changed my life forever, but I would have never been able to sleep at night knowing that these guys now have my websites and not knowing if they would truly help struggling Americans or if their hearts were in the right place.
The owner, Sal, would just boast how he just leased a 30,000 square foot building in Rhode Island and it was the nicest and most expensive building around. He said he would ride around on a Seg Way scooter because the office was so large and he was recruiting every out of work loan officer in the region.
So, I wasn’t surprised an article came out in Crain’s New York last week that detailed a lawsuit filed late last month that claims there are potentially thousands families who have paid American Modification Agency (AMA) upfront but never received the mortgage help they were “guaranteed.”
I actually spoke with Daniel Massey from Crain’s New York about 3 months ago in regards to loan modification scams and we spoke about this company. I am glad he did some great investigative journalism on this company because he could have not portrayed them any better than he did. Good job Mr. Massey!
More from Crains:
Poor track record
Former sales agents say working for AMA was a nightmare. They received no training or salary and relied on commissions of 15% to 25%. Many of the clients they brought in never had their loans modified by the firm’s processors, with whom they were not allowed to speak. “We’ve had clients in for well over 150 days that aren’t done,” says an agent who was hired off a Craigslist ad and worked at AMA for six months.
Titus Foster says he brought in 12 customers during a stint at AMA last year, but only three had their mortgages modified. “They’re very willing to swipe people’s credit cards, but when it comes to actual work, nothing is done,” he says. Another former employee who worked at AMA last summer and fall says he brought in 15 customers, but none of the loans were modified. “It was, get it in, get it in, get it in,” he says. “Well, we got it in, but then they lost track of it.”
Former employees say the company grew too fast, too soon and describe a frenetic, almost circus-like atmosphere in the office. They recall President Sal Pane riding around the office on a Segway scooter drinking Red Bull and exhorting agents to bring in customers. “Each time we’d turn in a file, we’d go out on the floor and hit a gigantic brass gong hanging from the ceiling,” says one former employee. “Everybody cheered one another,” yeah, yeah, yeah.’
This is from the American Modification Agency website and I almost spit my coffee on my lap top when I read this:
What Makes Us The Best For You?
American Modification Agency is fully insured and recognized by all three major credit bureaus.
American Modification Agency, the Premier Loan Modification Agency in the U.S. We fight cases of predatory lending and foreclosure. The result is a modified mortgage with the existing lender that our clients can afford.
At AMA, we set out to create an effective yet affordable option for homeowners current mortgages. Our programs are based upon newly created federal programs, credit bureau tactics, and persistence for our clients. Our programs have helped thousands of Americans obtain a monthly mortgage payment that they are comfortable paying.
What the hell does “recognized by all three major credit bureaus” mean? The credit bureaus have absolutely no authority, do not govern this industry and have NOTHING to do with loan modifications!
Read more about the lawsuit against AMA from Crain’s New York
Here is an address listed for American Modification Agency (AMA):
601 Veterans Hwy Ste 130 0
Hauppauge, NY 11788-2951