April 24, 2018

Worcester firm to pay $125K over tax lien fees

Photo | State House News Service
Attorney General Maura Healey

A Worcester tax lien purchaser will pay $125,000, including in restitution to about 100 Central Massachusetts homeowners, to settle allegations it collected unlawful fees in connection with its purchase of property tax liens.

Attorney General Maura Healey announced the settlement with Stage One Investors LLC on Tuesday.

Many Massachusetts cities and towns sell delinquent tax debts to private entities like Stage One. The investor is also given the right to proceed with foreclosure against the property if the homeowner fails to pay.

In such cases, laws limit fees and other amounts that tax lien holders can charge homeowners to pay the lien and stop tax foreclosures. Stage One allegedly violated that law by charging excessive and unlawful fees to homeowners seeking to pay their debts.

The investigation was initiated after Healey's office began fielding complaints from homeowners and legal services attorneys about the company placing unlawful restrictions on homeowners' right to redeem their property.

In addition to the payment, Stage One has agreed to change its business practices to provide clear and fair information to homeowners hoping to pay off their tax debts and avoid foreclosure.

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