State sues credit-rescue firms for ‘preying on Poles’

By Mary Ellen Podmolik
Posted Nov. 9, 2010 at 2:21 p.m.

The Illinois Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit against Chicago-based Illinois Loan Modification LLC, Omega Business Center, its managers and related businesses, alleging that they preyed on residents of the Chicago-area’s Polish community by falsely promising mortgage and credit card relief.

The suit, filed Tuesday  in Cook County Circuit Court, charged that the companies and their affiliates charged upfront fees to consumers but the promised services were never provided and customers who canceled their contracts were not issued refunds.

The state said it received nearly a dozen complaints about the companies from consumers in Cook, Lake and DuPage Counties who together lost $300,000 from their dealings with Omega and its other entities.

The suit alleges that though most of the firms’ clients spoke only Polish, company representatives did not provide customers with contracts written in Polish. Instead, company representatives orally translated the contracts and did not, as required by law, have clients sign statements acknowledging that the contracts were translated.

The state seeks to fine the companies and to order them to stop offering mortgage and credit card rescue services.

Also named as defendants were Michael Borowiak, of Niles, president of Omega Tax and Accounting and manager of Omega Investment and Development; Jorge Paredes, of Chicago, principal of Wall Street Inc.; and Jay Fortier, of Oak Park, manager of Habulst Asset Management LLC.

Calls to Borowiak and Fortier were not immediately returned. Paredes declined to comment on the suit.

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