The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently obtained a judgment against First Universal Lending and other defendants for allegedly deceiving distressed homeowners with phony claims that they would negotiate with lenders to modify their mortgages and make them more affordable.  The judgment amount is approximately $19 million and will allow the affected homeowners to receive a partial refund of money they paid for upfront costs for the modification.  According to the complaint, the company typically charged between $199.00 to upwards of $7,000.00 in up-front fees.  A court has also banned the company and the other defendants from “from the mortgage relief services business. It also permanently prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting material facts about any good or service, violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule, selling or using customers’ personal information, failing to properly dispose of customer information, and collecting payments from their customers.”  The settlement announcement can be seen here.  A copy of the settlement order can be obtained here.