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State goes after mortgage company accused of misleading veterans

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The Minnesota Department of Commerce has taken legal action against the Mortgage Investors Corp., which it calls a "scam mortgage company." In a press release issued Monday, the department said that the company has targeted Minnesota veterans with misleading advertising that suggests it is a government agency.

Mortgage Investors Corp, is also also known as Veterans Information Department. The Commerce Department led an order to show cause and statement of charges against the company. It alleges the mortgage company engaged in "... fraudulent, deceptive, and dishonest practices to refinance veterans’ residential mortgage loans in violation of Minnesota law."

The release said that the Commerce Department began investigating the mortgage company in 2011 for its advertising, which gave the appearance that they were a government agency or sponsored by a government agency. The Department issued a cease and desist order barring the company from advertising in Minnesota until it complied with the law. The Commerce Department added that the Florida-based Mortgage Investors Corp. employed a direct-mail campaign and in the past three years has sent more than 2 million advertisements to Minnesota veterans, in violation of its cease and desist order. The Commerce Dept. alleges other irregularities., including using bait-and-switch marketing, and engaging in “churning.”

Earlier this month, the Tampa Bay Times reported that the state of Florida reached a settlement with Mortgage Investors Corp. The state filed a lawsuit last year accusing the company of cold calling people on the do not call list and harassing them with multiple calls. The state filed its lawsuit in June 2013, shortly before the Federal Trade Commission levied a record-setting civil penalty of $7.5 million against MIC, the largest ever for the Do Not Call rule. The FTC said telemarketers misled service members by telling them they were affiliated with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

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