Florida Attorney General Sues Company for Allegedly Portraying False Associations with Government Agencies
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that his
office has sued Colorado-based Assurity Financial Services for potentially
deceptive practices related to refunds for insurance premiums, escrow
accounts, and other funding sources. The company allegedly used misleading
advertisements that claimed, among other things, false affiliations with
the U.S. Veterans Administration, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development and homeowners’ lenders.
In July 2009, Assurity Financial Services entered into a legally binding
agreement with Florida and Colorado where the company agreed to halt its
deceptive direct mailings and pay the states $200,000 in six payments, but
did not make its scheduled payment on July 1, 2010. Based on the
violations of the agreement, the Colorado Attorney General also has filed
a lawsuit against Assurity Financial Services and managing partners Clavin
B. Hamler and Troy P. Hamler.
According to the complaint, which was filed in Florida’s Second Judicial
Circuit Court, some of the company’s mailers solicited consumers in
several states to apply for refunds for their mortgage insurance premiums,
escrow accounts, Veterans Administration escrow accounts, and funding
fees. The mailers circulated appeared to be from the federal government
and even included a Washington, D.C. return address. These representations
allegedly led consumers to believe that Assurity had the authority to
secure refunds for consumers. The complaint also alleges that other
mailers appeared to come from the homeowners’ lenders.
Assurity Financial Services and the Hamlers also are suspected of sending
postcards to homeowners claiming home loans could be classified into more
favorable loans. The mailers did not clearly disclose that the defendants
were asking homeowners to refinance their homes through the company.
According to the complaint, Assurity Financial Services’ mailings gave
consumers the false impression of urgency and in some cases, the company’s
mailings also allegedly falsely informed homeowners they were in default,
even though this was not true.
Consumers who believe they have received a misleading or deceptive
solicitation from a private company are encouraged to file a complaint at
www.myfloridalegal.com. Consumers may also file complaints by calling the
Attorney General’s Fraud Hotline at 1-866-966-7226.