Governor signs bill increasing protection from mortgage rescue fraud


Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday signed House Bill 2275, Act 26, a measure that increases the protection of distressed homeowners against predatory mortgage rescue fraud.

Act 26 expands the definition of “distressed property consultant” to anyone who represents or assists those who provide distressed property consultant services for an advance fee. It also clarifies that attorneys exempt from this definition must be licensed by, and engaged in the practice of law, in the state.

Act 26 aligns Hawaii law with the Federal Trade Commission’s Mortgage Assistance Relief Services rule adopted in 2010, assisting the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Office of Consumer Protection in enforcing the mortgage rescue fraud law against all individuals involved in a scheme, such as the alleged scam announced last week that OCP believes may have affected more than 500 Hawaii homeowners.

Anyone who believes they may have been the victim of a mortgage rescue scam can file a complaint with the OCP by contacting the Consumer Resource Center at 587-4272 or visit cca.hawaii.gov/ocp.