ATLANTA – A frequent advertiser of bargain loans, DeWitt Mortgage Services & Property Management, agreed Friday to immediately stop doing business in Georgia for five years to avoid a hearing with regulators.
Owner Mark DeWitt paid an $11,000 fine and signed the consent order agreeing that he personally and his company will stop offering mortgages in the Peach State and revoking those licenses. His company remains licensed in South Carolina where it has an office on Plantation Park in Bluffton and where he said 60 percent of his business now comes from.
In March, 2011, the Georgia Department of Banking & Finance announced it intended to revoke his and the company’s licenses for making false statements to the agency as well as transacting business with an unlicensed agent. Early this year, he got licensed in South Carolina and moved his office from Savannah.
Calling by cellphone from a boat, DeWitt said the problem arose because four people he hired in Middle Georgia began originating loans for his company while they were still licensed to another mortgage broker.
“Basically, they told me one thing, and I was under the impression they were doing things appropriately,” he said. “It’s just a situation that the department asked me about, I told them what I knew.”
In signing the agreement, he does not admit to any wrongdoing. In Friday’s document, the Georgia department ordered DeWitt to “contribute” $1,000 to a national registry of mortgage brokers and to notify the registry of the loss of his Georgia licenses.
Interestingly, earlier in the day, DeWitt updated his personal Facebook page with a notice advertising “the lowest rates and lowest costs making it your BEST mortgage source in Georgia and South Carolina.”
DeWitt got his Georgia license in 2006 and his South Carolina one this February, according to the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System.
“My South Carolina business is really strong,” he said. “It’s not as big a setback as it seems.”
According to his LinkedIn profile, DeWitt has an accounting degree and a master’s degree from the University of Georgia, and the company has been recognized as a Top 10 Regional Mortgage Brokerage. The Better Business Bureau website lists the company as accredited and gives it a grade of A+, noting that four complaints against it about problem products or services have been closed in the last three years and one in the last 12 months.