HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State consumer protection officials are going after a Village Park woman whom they say preyed upon a struggling homeowner. They say it's the first time they have filed a lawsuit in Honolulu Circuit Court under a Hawaii law designed to protect people who are facing foreclosure.
Consumer protection officials previously filed a similar suit on Maui. They're hoping the legal actions send a strong message to others serving as mortgage rescue consultants.
According to the state Office of Consumer Protection, Lucy Cablay committed mortgage rescue fraud by falsely promising relief to a distressed homeowner on Oahu.
"The people of Hawaii have been going through a lot of tough times recently with mortgage foreclosure given the economy," Bruce Kim, state Office of Consumer Protection, said. "The unfortunate thing is that there's people out there who are victimizing these poor people."
The state accuses Cablay of engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices while working as a Hawaii runner for a company operating out of Texas. The state's attorney says Cablay convinced the woman to pay an up-front fee of $3,450 to Caughern & Associates which, in turn, delivered a $600 kick-back for Cablay.
"The ultimate end of that was that there were no mortgage rescue services, so she was out the money that she paid her," Kim said.
Caughern & Associates did not immediately respond to our request for comment.
The lawsuit seeks restitution for the victim, and a court order to prevent the defendant from offering similar services to others.
The Office of Consumer Protection says this is its first suit filed on Oahu under a state law enacted in 2008 designed to protect distressed property owners.
"I think this is the beginning, as you said, the beginning of a number of complaints to come," Kim said.
Efforts to reach the defendant were unsuccessful.