A 25 month-long Investigates probe into a real estate company accused of tricking people into signing contracts is getting results. We first told you about MV Realty and its business practices in November.
25 Investigates: Real estate company offers homeowners cash in exchange for a 40-year lien
Now, state and federal agencies are taking action and our team of investigators is demanding answers.
After months of refusing an in-person interview, our sister station in Jacksonville, Florida went to the company headquarters in Delray Beach, looking for company founder, Amanda Zachman.
Employees did not answer the door, and eventually, a public relations spokesperson told the company’s crew not making comments while in conversations with “attorneys general”.
MV Realty is referring in part to the AG’s office here in Massachusetts.
In December, 25 Investigates reported the office filed this lawsuit. It accuses MV Realty of deceiving more than 500 Massachusetts homeowners into entering “abusive contracts” for several hundred dollars upfront in exchange for a 40-year exclusive power of sale mortgage on their property.
“MV Realty’s business model and contract terms are unconscionable, targeting elderly and financially vulnerable homeowners who are short on cash, only to leave them with agreements they don’t understand and can’t get out of,” the AG’s office said in a statement . “We are suing to get homeowners out of these contracts, protect our residents from this scheme, and stop this predatory company from doing any more business here in Massachusetts.”
In addition to the lawsuit filed in Massachusetts, suits were also filed in Florida and Pennsylvania, and investigations were launched in at least 2 other states.
25 Investigative and investigative teams at our sister stations scored state records, and it appears MV Realty has not signed a single new home owner agreement this year.
The federal government has filed some paperwork in recent weeks: Federal lawmakers sent a letter to the federal trade commission asking for an investigation into “whether these listing agreements and business practices violate federal consumer protection laws.”
And in January, the FCC ordered all cell phone carriers to make sure robocalls from MV Realty don’t ring through to customers, accusing the company of “flooding homeowners with robocalls with misleading claims about mortgages.”
In previous statements to 25 Investigates, MV Realty has repeatedly defended the company’s business practices.
STATEMENT FROM MV REALTY:
“MV Realty has helped more than 35,000 satisfied homeowners nationwide through our Homeowner Benefit Agreement (HBA) by providing up to $5,000 that can be used to pay for mortgages, utility bills or a child’s school supplies. We are proud that our teams in states are built with local, licensed real estate agents who have developed client relationships with households across 33 states.
“New and innovative business models, like the HBA, can transform established industries and can sometimes draw questions from critics or outright hostility from those whose existing business models are threatened. However, to suggest that MV Realty has engaged in unfair or deceptive practices is simply false.
“MV Realty is committed to working with policymakers, regulators, and attorneys general where needed to discuss these questions and demonstrate our commitment to transparency and oversight in the work to help homeowners buy and sell homes. We are confident that after a full airing of the facts, these discussions will reinforce how MV Realty’s business transactions are legal and ethical and that our team operates in full compliance with state and federal laws.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.
Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW