On December 4, 2014, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed suit in Ohio County Circuit Court against a local businessman and his Wheeling, West Virginia businesses, alleging that they violated the Consumer Credit and Protection Act, the Safe Mortgage Licensure Act; and the Mortgage Lender, Broker and Servicer Act. A copy of the complaint can be found here.

The lawsuit alleges the businessman, Mark Busack, and his business, Major Savings, misrepresented fees charged on consumers’ credit cards for loan services, used deceptive advertising practices when trying to entice homeowners into refinancing their mortgages, unlawfully collected fees in advance of loans closing, ran their credit cards through That’s Italian Specialty Foods, and other violations of state law. Major Savings allegedly operated under several business names, including That’s Italian, A Plus Family Home Mortgage and Bethany Pike Carwash.

According to the complaint, the defendants would offer to mortgage refinancing options to consumers at a lower interest rate . They would then obtain various financial and personal information from the consumers, including credit card information, so the loan applications could be submitted to prospective lenders. Busack sometimes told customers that he had to charge fees to their credit card multiple times because he was trying to get the loan approved by several different lenders. He also failed to tell prospective buyers that state law prohibited him from charging any upfront fees except those for credit reports, title reports, appraisals and inspections done by unaffiliated third parties.

“Busack charged thousands of dollars to consumers’ credit cards without their consent or authorization,” according to a statement from Attorney General Morrisey. “By way of example only, the defendants charged a borrower’s [credit] card 12 times between June and July 2013 for a total of $16,327.50. Defendants also charged the same borrower’s [credit] card 20 times between June 24, 2013, and July 8, 2013, for a total of $17,876.50. He also allegedly misled customers by running their credit cards through the business account of That’s Italian Specialty Foods. As a result, customers saw charges from the restaurant on their statement and were confused as to why the charges had been placed on their credit cards.

The West Virginia Attorney General’s Office filed the lawsuit in conjunction with the West Virginia Division of Financial Institutions. The complaint is the result of a more than 16-month investigation with federal, state, and local authorities after the Office and Division received numerous complaints from consumers.