BULLETIN: Philadelphia Lawyer Arrested Last Week In Alabama On New Jersey Theft Charges Was Implicated By FTC In Alleged Mortgage-Modification Scam Targeting Vulnerable Borrowers; New Jersey Officials Say Michael Kwasnik Also Was Part Of Ponzi Scheme Targeting Seniors And Stole More Than $1 Million From Elderly Woman

Attorney Michael Kwasnik's booking photo in Alabama. State and federal authorities now say he was involved in multiple scams: theft from an elderly client, a New Jersey Ponzi scheme and a mortage-reduction caper targeting financially strapped homeowners.

BULLETIN: The Philadelphia attorney with an office in New Jersey who was arrested in Alabama last week on a fugitive warrant amid allegations he had stolen more than $1 million from an elderly woman in a trust scam was on the Federal Trade Commission’s radar screen for an alleged mortgage-relief scam, the PP Blog has learned.

The FTC began a civil prosecution of attorney Michael Kwasnik in September 2009. That case, which alleged Kwasnik and others targeted financially strapped homeowners while planting the seed that the purported mortgage-reduction program had been endorsed by the government, culminated today with an announcement by the FTC that it had settled the case with Kwasnik and the others and forced them to “return ill-gotten gains to consumers.”

New Jersey officials said last week that Kwasnik, in addition to stealing from the elderly woman, also was part of an $8.5 million Ponzi and fraud scheme targeting senior citizens.

Kwasnik was part of a law firm known as Kwasnik, Rodio, Kanowitz & Buckley, according to the FTC. The firm rated an “F,” the worse possible score, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Among the allegations in the FTC case was that Kwasnik and the firm were part of a scheme that used the name “Hope Now Modifications” and “falsely claimed to be part of HOPE NOW Alliance, a non-profit, government-endorsed mortgage assistance network.”

Other records show that Kwasnik has been under scrutiny by the New Jersey State Bar Association.

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