A loophole in state and federal laws has made it easy for some attorneys to take advantage of Illinois residents struggling to keep their homes, according to an investigation by the Chicago Tribune. In 2006, Illinois and other states passed legislation that banned charging upfront fees for loan modifications. But the law doesn't apply to attorneys. As a result, some mortgage rescue firms are circumventing the law by recruiting attorneys to collect upfront fees from consumers. Attorneys have also set up their own shops. They're all capitalizing on the huge number of people looking for help as nearly one in 10 Illinois home mortgage loans were delinquent last month. But instead of negotiating with a lender, some attorneys or the companies they work for just keep the cash and don't complete the job. Homeowners are often unaware until it's too late and their homes are in or near foreclosure. Lawyers are now linked to 30 percent of mortgage foreclosure companies that consumers have filed complaints about to the state attorney general's office, records show.
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