Washington, D.C. — Today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) filed a complaint in federal court in the Central District of California against Certified Forensic Loan Auditors, LLC (CFLA), Andrew Lehman (Lehman), and Michael Carrigan (Carrigan). The complaint alleges that CFLA and Lehman have engaged in deceptive and abusive acts and practices and have charged unlawful advance fees in connection with the marketing and sale of financial advisory and mortgage assistance relief services to consumers. CFLA is a foreclosure relief services company incorporated in California and headquartered in Houston, Texas. Lehman is CFLA’s president and CEO. The Bureau’s complaint alleges that Carrigan, who was the company’s sole auditor, provided substantial assistance to CFLA and Lehman. Concurrent with the complaint, the Bureau and Carrigan filed a proposed stipulated final judgment and order to resolve the substantial assistance claims against Carrigan.
As described in the complaint, the Bureau alleges that CFLA and Lehman violated the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 (CFPA) and Regulation O by making deceptive and unsubstantiated representations about the company’s mortgage assistance relief services and its ability to help consumers avoid foreclosures or negotiate loan modifications. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the company has made deceptive and unsubstantiated claims about the efficacy and content of its services, as well as misleading or false claims about the experience and qualifications of the persons providing the services. The Bureau also alleges that the company’s representations and services constituted abusive acts and practices in violation of the CFPA. Finally, the Bureau alleges that CFLA and Lehman have charged consumers for the company’s fees before services were actually rendered, in violation of Regulation O.
As CFLA’s principal auditor providing the company’s services, the Bureau alleges that Carrigan provided substantial assistance to CFLA and Lehman in violation of the CFPA and Regulation O. The Bureau and Carrigan negotiated a proposed stipulated final judgment and order that was filed alongside the complaint. If entered by the court, the proposed order will permanently ban Carrigan from providing mortgage assistance relief services or consumer financial products and services and impose a $493,000 civil money penalty. Because of Carrigan’s limited ability to pay, he will be required to pay $5,000 of the civil money penalty and the remaining amount will be suspended.
The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by regularly identifying and addressing outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome regulations, by making rules more effective, by consistently enforcing federal consumer financial law, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. For more information, visit consumerfinance.gov.