Report: #1146114

Complaint Review: Hoffman Law Group

  • Submitted: Mon, May 12, 2014
  • Updated: Mon, May 12, 2014
  • Reported By: trystan — atlantic city New Jersey
  • Hoffman Law Group
    860 Us hwy 1
    north palm beach, Florida

Hoffman Law Group residential litigation group marc Hoffman North Palm Beach lawyer faces Florida Bar discipline north palm beach Florida

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A North Palm Beach lawyer who advertises foreclosure-rescue services is facing Florida Bar discipline for his firm’s unsolicited and “misleading” mailings to homeowners that promoted joining mass lawsuits against banks.

Marc H. Hoffman, of the Hoffman Law Group, is alleged to have violated 10 Bar rules in marketing services that include filing lawsuits with as many as 120 plaintiffs to get lower interest rates and reduced mortgage debt.

The Florida Bar said in an April 25 letter it planned to file a formal complaint with the state Supreme Court and rejected an “admission of minor misconduct” from Hoffman, which would have resulted in a lesser punishment.

Hoffman stopped using the mailers, which the Bar said weren’t clearly marked as an advertisement, and too closely resembled legal documents, shortly after an initial complaint was filed in 2012 by an Idaho bank. The Idaho Department of Finance issued a cease and desist order against the firm — called the Residential Litigation Group at the time — in November 2012.

Hoffman, a 40-year member of the Florida Bar, who is in good standing and has had no disciplinary record in the past 10 years, could not be reached for comment Friday. Messages left for an attorney who has represented him through the Bar investigation were not immediately returned.

Adria Quintela, a staff attorney for the Florida Bar, said the investigation into the October 2012 complaint was prolonged because the advertisement wasn’t the only thing being examined.

In an August letter, Hoffman is questioned by the Bar about why the firm’s name was changed, whether any new partners were added, about an alleged Washington, D.C. office, about who the firm employs, why Hoffman advertised in Idaho when he’s not licensed there and exactly what services he offers.

“There were other matters relating to this,” Quintela said. “Things not necessarily related to him, but other matters we were looking into at the time.”

The Bar has a current investigation into an advertisement posted by the firm this year on Craigslist that was looking for sales representatives and touting weekly $1,000 paychecks.

The Palm Beach Post reported last month that the Hoffman Law Group had at least two dozen complaints against it filed by homeowners across the country with the Better Business Bureau and the Florida Attorney General’s office. Homeowners said they paid $6,000 retainers and $495 per month to join the mass plaintiff lawsuits, but have seen few results.

Unlike class-action lawsuits that treat plaintiffs as a single entity, mass joinders use hundreds of individually named plaintiffs with varying circumstances. Also, attorneys typically do not ask for upfront fees in class-action suits.

In 2011, the Better Business Bureau said homeowners should “steer clear” of mailings asking them to join national lawsuits to force their mortgage companies to cut their loan payments. The Federal Trade Commission followed a year later with its own warning, going so far as to call the lawsuits “scams.”

Two former Hoffman employees have also written to the Florida Attorney General’s office. One said homeowners were misled into thinking they were paying for foreclosure defense.

Billy Hannah of Euclid, Ohio, told the Better Business Bureau he paid $2,000 thinking his foreclosure was being defended, but when he showed up at a court hearing in February, he had no representation.

“I just felt so stupid,” Hannah told The Post in March. “The judge was looking at me like I don’t have a clue because I’m telling him my attorney is in West Palm Beach.”

Michele Stephens, an attorney who resigned from the Hoffman Law Group in February, said boiler room-style sales tactics were used and attorneys were expected to consult with homeowners in states where they weren’t licensed.

Hoffman lawyers have filed at least 17 lawsuits against banks in New York federal court, but 12 have either been voluntarily dismissed, or dismissed by judges who said the homeowners were improperly “joined.”

Another seven lawsuits were filed in April in the Southern District of Florida.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/12/2014 08:45 PM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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