A Florida-based mortgage rescue company shut down last year by the Federal Trade Commission has agreed to pay $2.4 million to former clients to settle charges that it deceived customers that it could save their homes from foreclosure.

Home Assure LLC typically charged consumers an upfront fee of $1,500 to $2,500, and claimed its special relationships with lenders would enable it to get favorable loan modifications or stop foreclosure, the FTC said. In marketing its services to distressed homeowners nationwide, the Clearwater-based company claimed it had helped thousands avoid foreclosure.

In reality, the FTC said, Home Assure did little or nothing to help consumers avoid foreclosure, and in numerous instances the company refused to pay refunds. The company sometimes denied refunds by claiming that consumers had breached the terms of their contract by contacting their lender or filing for bankruptcy.

The complaint filed by the FTC against the company in March 2009 also named B Home Associates LLC, doing business as Expert Foreclosures, and Home Assure officers Brian Blanchard, Michael Grieco, Michael Trimarco and Nicolas Molina.

The settlement order bans Home Assure from providing mortgage loan modification and foreclosure relief services, and from disclosing or benefiting from customers’ personal information.

The website Home Assure used to promote its mortgage foreclosure rescue services, www.HomeAssure.com, now refers visitors to the company’s temporary receiver.

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