AG files suit against mortgage companies

//August 14, 2008

AG files suit against mortgage companies

//August 14, 2008

State Attorney General Tom Corbett yesterday announced that
consumer protection lawsuits have been filed against two mortgage company
owners that illegally solicited consumers throughout Central
Pennsylvania and other parts of the state over the past year and a

Lawsuits were filed against Baltimore-based Direct
Leadsource owner Charles A. Ruppersberger IV and State
College, Centre County-based Apple Mortgage owner Justin Harford, according
to Corbett’s office. Harford operates Golden Apple Mortgage, Foote’s Inc. and
New Equity under Apple Mortgage, according to Corbett’s office.

Ruppersberger used a call center in India to place more than 500,000 marketing calls
to residents in Cumberland,
Dauphin, Lancaster, York and other counties throughout the state, according to
Corbett’s office. He made about 71,000 calls to consumers in the “717” area

Neither Ruppersberger nor his business is licensed to sell
mortgages in Pennsylvania,
and he oversaw the largest telemarketing push to customers on the state’s Do
Not Call List
Corbett’s office has ever investigated, the attorney general said
in a statement. He is also accused of other Do Not Call infractions.

Harford is accused of illegally placing calls to sell first
and second mortgages, mortgage-refinancing loans, home-equity loans and
debt-consolidation loans.

Harford and his companies under Apple Mortgage searched
courthouse records to get information about consumers with mortgages and called
to sell other mortgage products to them, according to Corbett’s office.

Harford was previously warned that his calls could have been
in violation of the state’s Do Not Call Law, but he continued to make calls,
according to Corbett’s office.

Apple Mortgage contacted consumers in Lancaster, York and
other counties of the state.

The lawsuit against Ruppersberger seeks full restitution for
consumers who incurred losses as a result of the calls and fines of up to
$1,000 for each violation. The attorney general’s office is also asking the
court to prevent him from making future telemarketing calls in Pennsylvania, according
to Corbett’s office.

The lawsuit against Harford seeks penalties of up to $1,000
for each violation and up to $3,000 for violations involving seniors. The suit
seeks to keep Harford from pursuing any telemarketing in the state until
court-ordered fines and costs are paid.

“It should be a warning to anyone in the telemarketing
business. In the six years we have had Do Not Call, we filed about 80 lawsuits
and fined (telemarketers) just over $800,000,” said Nils Frederiksen, Corbett’s
deputy press secretary.