The Federal Trade Commission has banned eight mortgage relief and foreclosure prevention marketers from plying their trade and fined them over $23 million for deceptive advertising. The eight individuals involved in three companies – two of them in California — have also been ordered to return over $30 million in fees to fleeced consumers.

The California firms included:

Federal Loan Modification Law Center run by Steven Oscherowitz, which marketed a “federal loan modification program” that charged an upfront fee of $3,000 and promised mortgage mods to distressed homeowners. The settlement order includes a $11.5 million judgment against Oscherowitz, and the FTC continues to pursue five other individuals in connection with this scam. aka Loss Mitigation Services, which charged an upfront fee of $5,500 and promised loan modifications. The firm and individuals Dean Shafer, Marion Anthony “Tony” Perry and Bernadette Perry also misrepresented themselves as agents of the consumer’s lending institution. The settlement order imposed a fine of $6.2 million.

A New Jersey company – Hope Now Modifications – and brothers Salvatore and Nicholas Puglia were fined $5.3 million for claims they could provide mortgage modifications and for misrepresenting themselves as affiliated with a free federal homeowner assistance program, the Hope Now Alliance.

To date, the FTC has brought 29 cases against marketers who have falsely promised foreclosure prevention and mortgage modification services.

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