Saturday June 23, 2012

BOSTON (AP) -- Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has awarded nearly $1.5 million in grants to local consumer and mediation programs.

Beginning July 1, Coakley's office will fund 18 local consumer programs and 15 face-to-face mediation programs for Fiscal Year 2013.

Coakley said the programs provide guidance, resources and voluntary mediation to consumers who may be victims of fraud, deception or unfair business practices. The program has been expanded this year into Berkshire County, where the regional housing authority was awarded funding for a new mediation program.

Coakley's office uses settlement funds to provide the grants.

In Fiscal Year 2012, the programs mediated more than 10,000 cases, returning more than $6 million to consumers.