OAKLAND, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy LLP and Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (“HERA”) filed a class action complaint alleging that solar panel finance and construction companies, namely Pace Funding Group, LLC, Complete Solar, Inc., Garantia Solar, and Green Pace Financial, Inc., have targeted hundreds of Spanish speaking and Latino homeowners throughout California to defraud those homeowners into entering PACE Assessment Agreements for thousands of dollars. As alleged, Defendants courted homeowners through daily outreach in Spanish over phone calls, text messages, and email, but then delivered the contract and all legal disclosures to the homeowner in English, implementing a bait-and-switch maneuver and having the client sign to terms that were never communicated to the client in their native language.
On top of that, just like the subprime mortgage industry, the Complaint alleges that Defendants solicited, brokered, and financed hundreds of homeowner loans to finance solar panels without ever verifying the financial wherewithal of the homeowner to repay the loan. To make matters worse, if the homeowner defaults on the loan, Defendants have as security a priority tax lien (a.k.a. PACE Assessment) on the homeowner’s property, allowing them to foreclose on the property. Again, Defendants never told this to the California homeowners they swindled. Or at least, they never told the homeowner in the homeowner’s native language. On purpose.
As alleged in the lawsuit, not only did defendants violate the law related to PACE Assessments, they also engaged in housing discrimination known as “reverse redlining.” This practice, where financial institutions target protected classes or disadvantaged communities with predatory loans, perpetuates racial disparities in wealth and home ownership.
“This kind of fraud cannot stand,” said Alison Cordova, a partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy. “Purposefully targeting non-English speaking communities in order to defraud them is disgraceful. Everyone should have the right to pursue the American dream untarnished.”
“Inducing consumers to enter a contract that puts their home at risk without their knowledge or consent is illegal,” according to Eric Buescher, another partner at Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy. “The conduct alleged in the complaint is an evolution of racist housing policies that have hurt too many Californians for too long.”
“PACE programs have a fiduciary duty to ensure that their authorized contractors do not engage in fraud and to accurately disclose the terms of the PACE assessment in a language homeowners can understand,” according to Joe Jaramillo, a senior attorney at HERA. “This is particularly the case given that the assessment is secured by a super-priority lien that can put the home at risk of foreclosure.”
About Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP
Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, based in the San Francisco Peninsula for over a half-century, engages exclusively in litigation and trials. The firm’s dedication to prosecuting or defending socially just actions has earned it a national reputation. With additional offices in Los Angeles and New York, the core of CPM is its people and their dedication to principles of law, their work ethic, and their commitment to justice. www.cpmlegal.com
Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP
Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP
Housing and Economic Rights Advocates (“HERA”)