The Sun-Sentinel reports that the owners of The Asset Protection Law Firm, which offered residential loan modifications and debt consolidation, face an assortment of charges including operating a law firm without license and practicing law without a license.
According to the Florida Attorney General's Office, Joseph Anton Hilton, 56, and Adam Forman, 46, ‘deceived homeowners into paying hefty upfront and monthly fees for legal services not supervised or approved by licensed attorneys.’
The pair told homeowners not to pay their mortgages and ignore notices because the law firm would be dealing with their banks at a ‘higher level.’
The fake firm also used Craigslist to recruit legitimate lawyers, mostly novices, and their names and bar license information for corporate filings, retainer agreements with desperate homeowners and other legal documents.
Court documents were filed using the real attorneys' information to delay foreclosures and enable the Hilton and Forman to continue collecting its fees. According to the complaint, the pair would resort to tactics including threats and harassment when clients tried to stop paying the phony firm.
Hilton and Forman have both been arrested and some of the firm’s approximately 15 employees may also be implicated in the crimes.