Ex-Bank of America employee settles fraud charges
A former Bank of America employee agreed to pay restitution for misrepresenting himself as an attorney and charging illegal fees to homeowners seeking his help in an effort to avoid foreclosure, the attorney general's office said today.
Christian Hayes, a former mortgage loan officer from Danvers, will pay $6,350 to a state consumer-aid fund following allegations that he preyed upon homeowners facing foreclosure. Hayes allegedly sought out troubled property owners, charging them up to $1,500 in fees before offering any assistance, which is against the law in Massachusetts. He also allegedly sometimes claimed he was an attorney rather than a mortgage loan officer, according to a complaint filed in Suffolk Superior Court.
“Homeowners who were seeking to save their homes from foreclosure were scammed by a bank employee who used his bank affiliation to gain their trust in seeking to avoid foreclosure,” said Attorney General Martha Coakley. “It is particularly egregious when individuals who are legitimate bank employees exploit this status to take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners.”
In an interview today, Hayes, 35, said he agreed to the settlement to end the litigation, but never misrepresented himself as an attorney and returned money to customers if he was not able to help them solve their mortgage problems.
"There were no victims in the case,'' he said. "I helped people save their homes or sell their homes."
Bank of America said that Hayes voluntarily left the company several months before bank officials became aware of the investigation. A spokesman said the bank had not received any complaints from customers about Hayes’s modification efforts.