RALEIGH -- A consumer alert tonight for homeowners heading toward foreclosure. The state Attorney General's office has a warning. The warning comes after a company in Florida offered foreclosure assistance to some North Carolina residents, but did little or nothing to help them. Melvin Powell of Ogden is one of five people in North Carolina who lost money to a company called Fresh Start. Powell has lived in his home for seven years. He says last March he was close to foreclosure when he got a flyer came in the mail from a company offering help. Powell signed up for the program and paid $1,200, then never heard from Fresh Start again. Powell eventually hired a private attorney who was able to save his house from foreclosure. After what he went through Powell has some advice for other homeowners. Powell said, "If you get anything in the mail like that, don't respond to it. Check into it, you have to check into it. Find out the backgrounds on them and do all that before you do anything." This morning, a judge in Wake County ordered Fresh Start to stop offering foreclosure assistance to homeowners in our state. He also ordered the company to turn over its records on all North Carolina customers. State Attorney General Roy Cooper is also trying to help people like Powell get their money back. He's asked the judge in the case to order fresh start to either pay back their customers, or make sure the money they paid goes toward their mortgage.
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