As part of a recent investigation and clean-up of that state’s foreclosure industry, Colorado’s Attorney General John Suthers has filed two more lawsuits against in-state foreclosure law firms, alleging fraud and violations of state consumer protection laws. These lawsuits close out a busy 2014, in which other similar civil lawsuits were filed by Colorado’s AG, with five settlements already totaling more than $10 million.
On November 18 and December 19, Suthers filed suit against foreclosure law firms Robert J. Hopp & Associates and The Hopp Law Firm (collectively the “Hopp firms”) – including Robert Hopp, individually, and the affiliated title company National Title – as well as The Vaden Law Firm – including Wayne Vaden, individually, and the affiliated title company City Park Title. In both cases, Colorado’s AG lists purported violations of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act and the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Specifically, the Hopp complaint alleges, among other things, that the firm routinely collected between $1,200 and $1,400 per foreclosure for “very expensive title search[es] that [are] available for $100”. These “expensive” title searches were ordered through the firm’s affiliated title company. Colorado’s AG also alleges that since 2007, on about 8,000 foreclosures, the Hopp firms charged between $200 and $2,000 in unlawful costs per foreclosure.
Similar to the Hopp lawsuit, the Vaden complaint alleges, among other things, that the firm charged inflated foreclosure costs, such as postings and court filings, in excess of the actual costs and market rates. Colorado’s AG also alleges that since 2009, on about 3,000 foreclosures, The Vaden Law Firm charged between $400 and $800 in unlawful costs per foreclosure.
As part of the announcement of the filing of these two new lawsuits, Suthers stated, “[f]or abusing the foreclosure process for their own profit, eight Colorado foreclosure law firms have now been targets of investigation by my office,” and “[i]t is my hope that these actions will result in greater transparency and fairness in the legal processing of foreclosures.”
The takeaway from these recent case filings: The Colorado AG is focused on protecting its in-state consumers from shady and unlawful foreclosure practices.