By Associated Press - Thursday, June 11, 2020

BOSTON (AP) - A property services company has agreed to pay $550,000 and change its business practices to settle allegations that it violated state consumer protection laws by illegally profiting from Massachusetts homeowners facing foreclosure, the state attorney general’s office announced Thursday.

The agreement resolves allegations that Altisource Solutions Inc. performed unnecessary and duplicate pre-foreclosure inspections and property maintenance services, the office of Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.

The company also received improper commissions for procuring forced-place insurance policies on behalf of a mortgage servicer, then passing the costs of the unnecessary services and commissions on to distressed homeowners, the statement said.

Altisource provides property preservation services to Ocwen Loan Servicing LLC for the purpose of protecting its interest in a distressed property. When a homeowner defaults on their mortgage payments, Altisource conducts inspections and maintenance, from grass cutting to snow removal.

The $550,000 settlement will be used in part to reimburse homeowners who were charged excessive premiums for force-placed insurance, Healey’s office said.

Altisource in a statement denied any wrongdoing and said its business practices changed long before Healey’s office made its allegations.

“The attorney general’s allegations are incorrect and lack factual basis, and we deny all allegations of wrongdoing,” the statement said.

The company said it agreed to the settlement to avoid the cost of a potential legal action.

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