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The Most Common Prescription Drugs Abused

The most commonly misused prescription drugs fall into three classes:

  • Opioids include oxycodone (Percocet, Tylox, OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab), and methadone (Dolophine)
  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants include butalbital (Fiorinal/Fioricet), diazepam (Valium), and alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Stimulants include methylphenidate (Ritalin) and amphetamine dextroamphetamine (Adderall).

Google Settlement

Rhode Island Office of Attorney General is a member of the FDA/OCI Task Force that led an investigation into Google and the illegal marketing and selling of prescription meds to Americans by online Canadian pharmacies. Click here to read the press release.

Ocwen Financial Corporation Settlement

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin today joined the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and 48 additional attorneys general to announce a two billion dollar settlement with Ocwen Financial Corporation (Ocwen), and its subsidiary, Ocwen Loan Servicing, for its role in mortgage foreclosure abuses and deceptive mortgage servicing practices.

For more information on the Ocwen Financial Corporation Settlement, please contact:

Ocwen

1-800-337-6695

ConsumerRelief@Ocwen.com

Consumer Protection Unit

401-274-4400

contactus@riag.ri.gov

Under the terms of the settlement, Rhode Islanders can expect to see approximately $9.6 million in relief in the form of principal reductions and direct payments to those who have been foreclosed upon. The settlement covers Ocwen, and its acquired subsidiaries Litton Loan Servicing, LP and Homeward Residential, for the time period January 1, 2009 through December 31, 1012.

The settlement is the result of a massive civil law enforcement investigation and initiative that includes state attorneys general, state mortgage regulators and the CFPB. According to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the misconduct resulted in premature and unauthorized foreclosures, violations of homeowners’ rights and protections and the use of false and deceptive documents and affidavits, including “robo-signing.”

Commenting on the settlement, Attorney General Kilmartin said, “As noted when we announced the landmark $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement in 2012, the settlement did not end our investigation into foreclosure and mortgage servicing abuses by big banks set on making profits with little concern for homeowners. This settlement with the nation’s fourth largest mortgage service provider confirms my commitment to hold those responsible for the collapse of the housing market and record numbers of foreclosures in Rhode Island, and ensure that past bad practices do not occur in the future.”

Nationally, Ocwen agreed to $2 billion in first-lien principal reductions and $125 million for cash payments to borrowers on nearly 185,000 foreclosed loans in the states involved in the settlement.

In Rhode Island, Ocwen will provide troubled borrowers with an estimated $9.6 million in first lien principal reductions, and approximately 865 loans that were foreclosed upon may be eligible to receive a cash payment. The payment amount, which is contingent on the number of consumers who submit valid claims, is projected to be approximately $1,000.

Joseph A. Smith, Jr., monitor of the National Mortgage Settlement, will oversee the Ocwen agreement’s implementation and compliance through the Office of Mortgage Settlement Oversight .

The National Mortgage Settlement , a three-year agreement reached in 2012 with the attorneys general of 49 states and the District of Columbia, the federal government and five mortgage servicers (Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo), has so far provided more than $51 billion in relief to distressed homeowners and created significant new servicing standards. The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. entered the consent judgments on April 5, 2012.

The Ocwen settlement does not grant immunity from criminal offenses and would not affect criminal prosecutions. The agreement does not prevent homeowners or investors from pursuing individual, institutional or class action civil cases. The agreement also preserves the authority of state attorneys general and federal agencies to investigate and pursue other aspects of the mortgage crisis, including securities cases.

Ocwen Agreement Highlights

  • Ocwen commits to $2 billion in first lien principal reduction.
  • Ocwen will pay $125 million cash to borrowers associated with 183,984 foreclosed loans.
  • Homeowners will receive comprehensive new protections from new mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure standards.
  • An independent monitor will oversee implementation of the settlement to ensure compliance.
  • The government can pursue civil claims outside of the agreement, as well as any criminal case; borrowers and investors can pursue individual, institutional or class action cases regardless of the agreement.
  • Ocwen pays $2.3 million for settlement administration costs.

Because of the complexity of the mortgage market and this agreement, which will span a three year period, in some cases Ocwen will contact borrowers directly regarding principal reductions. However, borrowers should contact Ocwen to obtain more information about principal reductions and whether they qualify under terms of this settlement. A settlement administrator will contact qualified borrowers associated with foreclosed loans regarding cash payments. More information will be made available as the settlement programs are implemented.

Ocwen has established a toll-free number and email address for borrowers with questions.  The number is 1-800-337-6695, and the email address is ConsumerRelief@Ocwen.com.

In addition, homeowners may also contact the Consumer Protection Unit of the Office of Attorney General at 401-274-4400 or by email at contactus@riag.ri.gov.

FAQs

Q: What is a mortgage servicer and how do I know if Ocwen services my loan?

A: The company that you make your monthly payment to is your mortgage servicer. A mortgage servicer administers mortgage loans, including collecting and recording payments from borrowers. A servicer also handles loan defaults and foreclosures, and may offer programs to avoid foreclosure and to assist delinquent borrowers.

You can find out whether your mortgage is serviced by Ocwen by calling Ocwen at 1-800-337-6695 or emailing your question to ConsumerRelief@Ocwen.com.

Q: How will I know whether this settlement affects me?

A: This settlement involves Ocwen and two companies recently purchased by Ocwen: Litton Loan Servicing LP (“Litton”) and Homeward Residential Holdings LLC (previously known as American Home Servicing, Inc or AMHSI). If your loan was serviced by Ocwen, Litton, or Homeward, you lost your home to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2012, and you meet other criteria, the settlement administrator will mail you a Notice Letter and Claim Form. If you choose to receive payments, you will not have to release any claimsand will be free to seek additional relief in the courts.

For loan modification options, you may be contacted directly by Ocwen. You may also contact Ocwen to obtain more information about specific loan modification programs and find out if you will be impacted by this settlement. You may reach Ocwen at 1-800-337-6695 or ConsumerRelief@Ocwen.com.

Q: How does this settlement hold Ocwen accountable?

A: This is an action that addresses Ocwen’s servicing of loans, including the handling of foreclosures and loss mitigation requests, and will result in Ocwen providing substantial relief to consumers. One of the main problems was the practice known as “robo-signing” where companies submitted foreclosure documents that were not properly reviewed or notarized. This action also focused on Ocwen’s failure to honor in-process loan modifications agreed to by prior servicers when it acquired those loans or purchased mortgage servicing rights from other servicers.

This action brought by the CFPB and state agencies will require Ocwen to give foreclosed-upon consumers $125 million in relief, and provide $2 billion to homeowners at risk of foreclosure to reduce the principal on their loans and help them keep their homes.

This settlement will also require Ocwen to comply with the standards for servicing loans found in the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement between the state attorneys general and federal government and the five largest mortgage banks, as well as several new standards.

If the court signs off on the settlement, Ocwen will be subject to a federal court order enforceable by a federal judge. The CFPB and state attorneys general will be able to enforce compliance if there are violations. In addition, a special independent monitor will have the authority to oversee the settlement and require Ocwen’s compliance, which will provide an extra layer of oversight of Ocwen’s servicing practices. Finally, there will be a monitoring committee comprised of state attorneys general, the CFPB, and state financial regulators.

Q: Did you conduct an investigation?

A: Yes. The Multi-State Mortgage Committee of state financial regulators conducted thorough examinations of Ocwen and two other servicers that Ocwen has since acquired (Litton and Homeward) in the spring of 2012. The state financial regulators then partnered with state attorneys general, who had just successfully completed the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement with the five largest banks, and the CFPB, which was handling an investigation of Ocwen that was referred to it by the Federal Trade Commission, to bring this action.

Q: What conduct did your investigation uncover?

A: Based on our joint investigative efforts, the CFPB and states believe that Ocwen engaged in practices that harmed consumers, including but not limited to:

  • fa iling to tim e ly and a cc u rat e ly app ly p a ym ents m ade by bo rrow e rs and f ailing to m aint ain accu r ate a ccou nt st at em ents;
  • c h a r gi ng unauthorized f ees f or d e f ault -r el at ed s ervi ces;
  • providing false or misleading information to borrowers regarding loans that had been transferred from other servicers;
  • failing to provide accurate and timely in f o rm ation to bo rrow e rs who sought information about lo ss miti g ation s ervi ces, in cluding lo an modi fi cat ions;
  • mis rep res enti ng to bo rr ow ers th at loss miti g ation p rog rams would p rovide reli ef fr om the initi ation of fo rec losu re or f u rth er fo reclosu re e f fo rts;
  • imp rop e r ly d e n yi ng lo an modi fi c ation reli ef to el i gible bo rrow e rs;
  • p roviding f alse or misleading reasons f or d eni al of lo an modi fi cations;
  • with respect to transferred loans, failing to honor in-process trial modifications agreed to by prior servicers; and
  • robosigning affi d avits in fo recl osu re p ro ceedi n gs.

Q: What laws did Ocwen violate?

A: Ocwen is charged with engaging in unfair and deceptive acts or practices in violation of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Act and state laws. Ocwen’s unlawful conduct has resulted in injury to consumers who have had home loans serviced by Ocwen, Litton, and Homeward. The harm includes paying improper fees and charges, unreasonable delays and expenses to obtain loss mitigation relief, and improper denial of loss mitigation relief.

Q: Will there be payments to foreclosure victims?

A: Yes. The settlement administrator will mail Notice Letters and Claim Forms to borrowers who lost their home due to foreclosure between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012, whose loans were serviced by Ocwen, Homeward, or Litton, and who meet other criteria. Borrowers who choose to receive payments will not have to release any claims and will be free to seek additional relief in the courts.

Q: How do I know if I am eligible for payment as a foreclosure victim?

A: You are eligible if you meet the following requirements:

  • your home was foreclosed on between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012;
  • at the time of foreclosure, the loan was serviced by Ocwen, Homeward, or Litton;
  • you made at least three payments on the loan;
  • you lived or intended to live in the property as your principal place of residence at the time of the origination of the loan;
  • the property was a one-to-four unit residential property;
  • the unpaid principal balance of the first-lien did not exceed $729,750 for a one-unit property, $934,200 for a two-unit property, $1,129,250 for a three-unit property, or $1,403,400 for a four-unit property; and
  • you make a valid claim.

Q: If I am eligible for foreclosure relief, how much will I get?

A: The settlement administrator will solicit and process claims from victims of foreclosure. All consumers who successfully file eligible claims will receive an equal payment based on the total number of successful claims.

Q: Ocwen has already begun the foreclosure process on my home. Will the settlement stop the foreclosure?

A: No. The settlement does not mandate that Ocwen stop all foreclosures.  However, you may be eligible for a loan modification. You may contact Ocwen about potential loan modification options at 1-800-337-6695 or ConsumerRelief@Ocwen.com.

Q: I lost my home to foreclosure between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2012. How do I provide my current contact information to the settlement administrator?

A:   You do not need to take any steps right now. Once the settlement administrator is selected, he or she will contact eligible consumers. The settlement administrator will make every effort to contact you at your most recent address. You are also welcome to provide your current contact information to your state attorney general’s office.

Q: What if I have continued making payments?

A: If you are delinquent on your payments or at imminent risk of foreclosure and you owe more than your home is worth, you may be eligible for a loan modification.

For loan modification options, you may be contacted directly by Ocwen.

You may also contact Ocwen yourself to obtain more information about specific loan modification programs and inquire whether you may be impacted by this settlement. You may reach Ocwen at 1-800-337-6695 or ConsumerRelief@Ocwen.com.

Q: What if I am underwater and delinquent on my mortgage – is Ocwen required to approve a modification?

A:   If you are delinquent on your payments or at imminent risk of foreclosure and you owe more than your home is worth, you may be eligible for a loan modification. Although the settlement generally orders Ocwen to provide $2 billion in principal write-down loan modifications to eligible underwater borrowers, it does not say which consumers get this relief. In other words, any particular consumer does not have a “right” to a loan modification under this settlement.

For loan modification options, you may be contacted directly by Ocwen.

You may also contact Ocwen yourself to obtain more information about specific loan modification programs and inquire whether you may be impacted by this settlement. You may reach Ocwen at 1-800-337-6695 or ConsumerRelief@Ocwen.com.

Q: Will taxpayers ultimately pay for this settlement?

A: No, the settlement is not funded by taxpayers.

Q: Is Ocwen being required to make any settlement payments to state or federal government agencies?

A: No. Unlike the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement, as long as Ocwen meets its obligations under the settlement, the CFPB and the state attorneys general are not requiring Ocwen to make payments directly to state or federal government agencies because we want to maximize the amount of relief that goes directly to consumers.

Q: Are payments taxable?

A: You may be subject to taxation depending on your individual circumstances. Please check with your tax advisor for any tax questions.

Q: How will this settlement protect consumers in the future?

A: Ocwen has agreed to major reforms in how it services mortgage loans. These new servicing standards require Ocwen to adhere to a long list of obligations with respect to borrowers facing foreclosure. For example, Ocwen must be able to provide borrowers all of their loan documents so they can make sure any potential foreclosure is legal; Ocwen must give borrowers every available opportunity to first modify their loan before facing foreclosure; Ocwen will be required to have an appropriate number of well-trained staff members to promptly respond to the needs of distressed borrowers; and finally, Ocwen will provide each borrower a reliable, single point of contact so they have access to a person from whom to obtain information throughout the process.

The examinations and investigations uncovered evidence that Ocwen failed to properly account for payments, honor loan modification agreements, and provide basic information to consumers.

This settlement will also require Ocwen to comply with the standards for servicing loans found in the 2012 National Mortgage Settlement between the state attorneys general and federal government and the five largest mortgage banks. We have also added several new provisions to this agreement.

First, with regard to transferred loans, Ocwen will be required to extend these consumer protections to loans that were transferred and must determine the status of in-process loss mitigation requests within 60-days of transfer to Ocwen. Ocwen will be required to refrain from initiating or continuing any foreclosure proceeding until that is done.

Second, the single point of contact requirement has been enhanced to ensure Ocwen personnel are made available to consumers in a timely fashion and to ensure consumers can pursue loss mitigation through other means, such as homeownership events, public workshops and non-profit housing counselors.

Q: Will Ocwen be subject to the CFPB’s new mortgage servicing rules?

A: Yes. Ocwen must comply with the mortgage servicing rules, which are set to go into effect in January 2014. Ocwen will also be required to comply with the servicing standards in this settlement.

Q: Why are you releasing Ocwen from some claims?

A: The release of claims relinquishes particular state and federal claims on issues addressed by the settlement. The release is narrow and is limited to mortgage servicing claims. The CFPB and the states are not immunizing any individuals or institutions from criminal prosecution or other non-servicing claims, such as securities-related cases.

The agreement does not affect any individual’s rights. You may still bring an individual action, or be a part of a class action. Any recovery you may get in a future individual or class action, however, is likely to be offset by any payments you receive through this settlement.

Q: How will this settlement be enforced?

A: This settlement has been filed in federal court, and if entered by the court, it will be backed by a federal court order. State attorneys general may also seek to enforce this order in state court. State attorneys general and the CFPB could seek penalties if Ocwen does not follow the settlement terms. The orders entered by the state financial regulators can be enforced by them in their respective states.

The settlement also includes an independent monitor. The monitor, who will work from a strict set of objective measuring standards, will oversee the carrying out of this agreement and will report to the states and the CFPB on Ocwen’s compliance. This will provide another layer of oversight over Ocwen. Finally, there will be a monitoring committee comprised of state attorneys general, the CFPB, and state financial regulators, which will work closely with the independent monitor.