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North Carolina judge orders mortgage rescue company to shut down

Mortgage Assistance of the Carolinas allegedly collected upfront fees

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North Carolina officials have shut down a company they claimed was preying on homeowners who were behind on their mortgage payments, sending them direct mail offers of help. "We can help you ... we are the foreclosure consultants that really care!" the company promised, according to Attorney General Roy Cooper. Instead, Cooper said, Mortgage Assistance of the Carolinas Inc. collected an upfront fee -- typically one month's mortgage payment -- "and then left them in the lurch." Cooper has filed suit against Mortgage Assistance and its predecessor, Carolina Mortgage Relief Inc., and owner Alan Steve Seabolt of Charlotte. The complaint alleges both companies broke state laws against unfair business practices and debt adjusting. A Wake County Superior Court judge Wednesday ordered the company to cease operations while the suit moves forward.  North Carolina lawmakers last year passed a law making it illegal for foreclosure assistance companies to charge an upfront fee, and Cooper's...