When North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced on Tuesday, March 21 that he was filing a lawsuit against a realty company with questionable practices, no one was more pleased than Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen, who for three months has been telling the media and elected officials that the company is scamming people.

Within hours after the announcement, the register of deeds sent out a press release titled, “Thigpen Applauds NC Department of Justice Lawsuit Against MV Realty and Supports Legislative Bill Prohibiting 40 Year Lien Agreements.”

It stated, “Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen applauds activity today by the North Carolina Department of Justice and NC General Assembly. NC DOJ has filed suit against MV Realty, and House Bill 422/Senate Bill 344 (Unfair Real Estate Agreements Act) has been filed in the General Assembly to reign in unscrupulous mortgage brokers. The Attorney General’s lawsuit goes after MV Realty’s business practices specifically and the legislative bill is designed to prohibit unfair real estate service agreements on residential mortgages.”

When most people were doing last minute Christmas shopping last year, Thigpen was making calls to media outlets to convince them to warn the public about what he said were the company’s tricky and manipulative practices.

Guilford County residents interested in filing a complaint regarding MV Realty should contact the North Carolina Department of Justice at (877)-5-NOSCAM. Complaints may also be filed at www.ncdoj.gov/complaint Thigpen said the lawsuit and new legislation is driven by the anger of those who have been scammed.

“Make no mistake we are seeing a one-two punch by Attorney General Stein and legislative leaders to both protect North Carolina consumers and uphold high real estate industry standards,” he said. “Most importantly, the Register of Deeds office has been in communication with 160 Guilford County homeowners with MV Realty agreements and heard directly from them in recent weeks. Consumers are angry regarding the company’s business practices and demand action on their behalf. We are now seeing real action.”

The allegations against MV Realty have centered around the company’s so-called “Homeowner Benefit Program” which offers homeowners a cash amount without taking out a loan. In exchange for that, the homeowner signs a contract creating a 40-year exclusive listing agreement. If, during the 40-year period, the property ownership changes by  sale, foreclosure, inheritance, etc., without MV Realty as the listing agent, the homeowners or heirs are potentially obligated to pay a percentage of the home’s overall value as a penalty.

Thigpen stated in the press release that he had reached out to the Guilford County legislative delegation to call attention to litigation and proposed legislation that “fights back against unscrupulous brokerage companies, deceptive language used by these companies in real estate service agreements and makes unfair agreements unenforceable.”

Supporters of the legislation include AARP, NC REALTORS and The NC Real Estate Commission.

This is the most recent lawsuit filed against MV Realty, which has been sued by attorney generals in Florida, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Ohio for unfair and deceptive business practices.

In addition, the Federal Communications Commission has issued a notice about “substantial amounts of apparently unlawful phone solicitation calls to numbers on the Do Not Call Registry”.