Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 9, Issue 374 • Jan. 5, 2018
Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing



This week I announced a $45 million settlement with one of the larger non-depository mortgage servicers active during the housing crisis. This massive multistate agreement with PHH Mortgage Corporation is the ninth mortgage servicing settlement my office reached since 2012. As part of the settlement, Floridians will receive an estimated $2.8 million in cash payments.

The settlement resolves allegations of PHH’s servicing misconduct during the housing crisis. According to the complaint filed by my office, 48 other state attorneys general and the District of Columbia, PHH threatened foreclosure and conveyed conflicting messages to borrowers engaged in loss mitigation. In addition to other misconduct, PHH also allegedly charged unauthorized fees for default-related services

This settlement follows national settlements with the mortgage servicing entities of Bank of America, Chase, Citi, Wells, GMAC/Ally, Ocwen, HSBC and Suntrust. Including this week’s settlement, the nine agreements are resulting in more than $142 million in payments to Floridians harmed during the housing crisis.

Floridians were hit hard by the national foreclosure crisis. To ensure borrowers received the help they needed, our office helped lead nationwide efforts to hold banks accountable for foreclosure abuses and unacceptable mortgage servicing practices. This historical joint federal-state effort resulted in the national mortgage settlement of more than $25 billion.

I will continue to work tirelessly to protect Florida borrowers and hold lenders accountable.

In the News
PHH reaches nationwide settlement over crisis-era mortgage servicing, Housing Wire
New Jersey-based lender agrees to pay $45M to settle mortgage misconduct claims, The Real Deal

Drive Avis, Budget, Payless? File by Sunday for Florida toll refunds, Palm Beach Post

Floridians Have Until Sun. To File Claim Against Rental Car Companies For Add-On Charges, WFSU


Protecting Floridians

Sunday Deadline to File Claims in Avis, Budget and Payless Settlement


Attorney General Pam Bondi is urging consumers who rented a car from Avis, Budget or Payless between Jan. 1, 2010 to July 10, 2017 and were charged for e-Toll services to file a claim before the January 7, 2018 deadline. The deadline to submit a claim is this Sunday. Refund checks will be mailed in March 2018 to eligible claimants wrongfully charged for e-Toll services.

For more information about the claims process and to access the claim form, click
here.




Fort Lauderdale Dentist Arrested for Violation of Probation

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Broward County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Fort Lauderdale dentist for violation of probation. Dr. Marino Vigna is currently serving probation following an MFCU investigation and arrest in 2016 for allegedly billing Medicaid for services not rendered. Dr. Vigna pleaded Nolo Contendere to a charge of grand theft, a third-degree felony.

As part of the plea, Dr. Vigna agreed to not treat Florida Medicaid patients in any manner while terminated from the Medicaid Program as a provider. The agreement further stated Dr. Marino Vigna may not treat Medicaid recipients unless he is lawfully reinstated as a Medicaid Provider for Florida.
More.






IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

Tampa Bay Times: Editorial: A victory for Florida to protect tobacco payments



Tampa Bay Times: “That is a victory for the public health, and Bondi deserves credit for demanding that Florida gets the millions it is entitled to receive.”

Tampa Bay Times
Editorial Board
Jan. 1, 2018

A circuit judge in Palm Beach County has appropriately upheld one of the key legacies of Florida’s landmark tobacco lawsuit. The ruling last month forces R.J. Reynolds to continue paying the state millions in settlement money even after selling off several tobacco brands. It’s the right outcome that ensures cigarette makers continue to be held accountable for harming public health.
More.