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Local Mortgage Firm in Hot Water in North Carolina

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RISMEDIA, Oct. 11, 2007-(MCT)-The owner of Fort Mill, North Carolina-based Nationwide Mortgage Assistance is in trouble with the state Attorney General.

Alan Steve Seabolt was banned from doing business in North Carolina on Aug. 23, 2006, by a temporary injunction. The injunction was later made permanent on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2007.

Seabolt allegedly ran two mortgage assistance companies in North Carolina before moving to Fort Mill and setting up a third. He allegedly ran Carolina Mortgage Relief, which he later morphed into Mortgage Assistance of the Carolinas. When he got to Fort Mill, he changed the name of the company to Nationwide Mortgage Assistance, according to Tom Bartholomy of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont, which has logged several complaints against Seabolt and his businesses.

Seabolt did not return a call for comment. Nationwide Mortgage Assistance is not affiliated with Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

“We have a file on Carolina Mortgage Relief that has 32 complaints dating to 2003,” Bartholomy said.

Some of those complaints were resolved, but others were not, he said. The BBB also has a file on Mortgage Assistance of the Carolinas with six complaints, none of which have been resolved. In May of this year it opened a file on Nationwide Mortgage Assistance. So far, it has three unresolved complaints.

“When a foreclosure action is filed it’s public record,” Bartholomy said. “Companies like Seabolt’s scour those records and send mailings to those people saying, ‘We can save your house and stop foreclosure.’”

The mortgage relief companies typically require one month’s mortgage payment up front in cash and say they will work with the customer’s mortgage lender to stop foreclosure activities and even renegotiate the mortgage payments.

“But they don’t,” Bartholomy said. “They just take your money up front and don’t do anything.”

Susan Eudy found that out the hard way. She got a letter from Nationwide Mortgage Assistance in June after her mortgage lender initiated foreclosure proceeding against her Concord, N.C., home. She had never heard of the company before but its promise to stop the foreclosure was too good to pass up.

She contacted the company on June 23 and paid $951 — one month’s mortgage payment. She said when she made the payment the company was aware that she would lose her home in less than three weeks, but she was told that was plenty of time.

“Two days after my house was auctioned off, Nationwide Mortgage Assistance called me and said it had been auctioned off and I had 10 days to take anything I wanted out of the house. The rest belonged to the new owner,” Eudy said. “They said I didn’t give them enough time.”

Eudy was mad, and she called N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper about it. She found out that Seabolt had already been ordered by a N.C. court to stop soliciting customers in North Carolina. He had also been ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and to set up a $65,000 fund to pay back the customers he is alleged to have taken advantage of in North Carolina, something the Attorney General’s Office says he has failed to do.

In September, Seabolt was served with a motion and an order for contempt by Cooper’s office for failing to establish the fund, according to Cooper’s office. The matter is supposed to head to court this week, although the exact date has not been set yet. Eudy is currently renting a room in her mother’s basement and is planning to testify against Seabolt. She is also contemplating a civil suit after the criminal proceedings are finished.

“I want my money back, his Escalade and anything else he owns,” she said. “I hope he goes to prison.”

Eudy’s story was recently featured on NBC’s “Today Show.” It is only one of several similar stories tied to Seabolt’s companies, according to the BBB and Cooper’s office. The BBB’s Bartholomy said Seabolt set up shop in Fort Mill last August after the temporary injunction.

Copyright © 2007, Fort Mill Times, S.C.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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