Beware of National Church Consultant of America

January 05, 2011

Andrew’s Investment Group of Sacramento garners some $750 to $7000 in advance fees for guaranteed loan modifications, which most say fail to materialize. The company has recently resurrected as National Church Consultant of America, still offering to provide loan modifications.

We recently telephoned Andrew’s Investment Group who answered as National Church Consultant of America. Mr. Andrews indicated that he was still providing loan modifications.

We’ve received nine complaints from Greater Sacramento residents claiming that they were instructed by Andrews to stop paying their loans and instead pay him for loan modifications. Most complained that the modifications were never performed and that they were unable to obtain refunds from Andrews despite promises to the contrary. One customer who lost $5,500 lamented: “This company not only scammed us out of thousands of dollars, but left voicemails stating our loan had been modified when it wasn’t. They promised us verbally and on our receipt that they’d refund us our money if they didn’t modify our loan. We’ve been waiting two years for a refund.” Not alone in their disdain, another said: “After spending hours dealing with the company’s lawyer and CEO, I was told my $2,500 would not be refunded and have since fallen deeper in the foreclosure process. I’ve left over 60 messages on Mr. Andrew’s voicemail with no response.”

Typically clients complain:

· Andrew’s Investment states they will not cash the consumer’s checks for the advance fee until the loan modification is complete; yet they cash the checks immediately.

· The postdated checks that the company requires, are not cashed after the date verbally specified. They are cashed immediately.

· The receipt, as well as verbal representations, clearly denote that the loan modification is guaranteed or the fee will be refunded. The refunds are not given.

At least some of the complaints were responded to by Steven Royston, a California licensed attorney, who is the subject of disciplinary action by the California State Bar and eventual license suspension . In addition, the California State Bar has pending disciplinary proceedings against him that involve Andrew’s clients.

If Andrew’s Investment Group does respond to BBB complaints they typically claim that they did not guarantee any modification and in some cases offered partial refunds. The company relies on it's written contract which states that it denies refunds (despite verbal promises given to consumers).

“It’s unbelievable that some companies are still engaging in the illegal practice of charging an advance fee to perform loan modifications. Homeowners are obviously desperate,” said Gary Almond, President of the BBB serving northeast California.

On October 11, 2009, Governor Schwarznegger signed Senate Bill 94 (Calderon) that prohibits any person, including real estate licensees and lawyers, from demanding, charging, or collecting an advance fee from a consumer for loan modification or mortgage loan forbearance services. This company, is in violation of these terms.

The Better Business Bureau serving northeast California warns consumers facing foreclosure to NEVER pay an upfront fee to modify your loan. Deal with your lender directly and see if you can modify the loan yourself. Call the BBB for a free report on a company BEFORE you make your decision. The BBB’s reports provide a rating, information about complaint history, and licensing information.