by: Blair Miller Updated:
RALEIGH, N.C. - A judge has come down hard on two companies, one of them in Charlotte, accused of illegally charging homeowners upfront for help avoiding foreclosure.
The companies now owe thousands of dollars and aren't allowed to have this kind of business in North Carolina.
Channel 9 spoke to Koy Chiu several times over the past few years. She said how she nearly lost her home and reworked her loan. She started helping others to do the same under the company "Community Mortgage Assistance."
Chiu told Channel 9 reporter Jason Stoogenke in March 2012 how worried she was about her clients.
"I deal with them. I keep boxes of tissues on my desk for homeowners," she said at the time.
Late last year, Attorney General Roy Cooper filed suit again Community Mortgage Assistance and another company in Wilmington, accusing them of charging advance fees for help, which is against the law, and failing to provide any meaningful help.
A judge agreed last week and banned Chiu's company from providing mortgage loan modifications or help with foreclosures in North Carolina.
Chiu was ordered to pay $4,000 in refunds and, if it happens again, she'll owe $30,000 in penalties.
During the investigation, Chiu told Channel 9 she wasn't doing anything to harm anyone.
"I would never, ever come out and try to hurt someone who I already know what they're going through," Chiu said in September 2012.
Cooper's office said Thursday, "Schemes like these promise help but always fail to deliver."
The attorney general's office said it's received 1,200 complaints about various foreclosure assistance and loan modification schemes over the past five years. The attorney general's office said anyone behind on their mortgage should contact their lender first.
For more information, click here.
For a copy of the lawsuit, click here.