Legal Helpers Debt Resolution, a Chicago-based company, was banned from providing debt-relief services in North Carolina as part of a court judgment announced by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper on Monday
The judgment was approved in Wake County Superior Court last week against Legal Helpers and its principals Jeffrey Hyslip, Jason Searns, Jeffrey Aleman and Thomas Macey.
Cooper filed a lawsuit against Legal Helpers in May seeking to ban illegal practices and obtain refunds for affected consumers following an investigation by his office that found that approximately 412 North Carolina consumers paid $1.1 million in fees to Legal Helpers between 2010 and 2012, but allegedly did not receive services..
A North Carolina law initiated by Cooper makes it illegal to collect advance fees for debt settlement services.
“Paying money for empty promises just drives consumers even deeper into debt,” Cooper said. “We helped put a strong law in place that makes it illegal to collect money upfront for debt relief work and we’re enforcing the law against violators.”
The defendants paid $122,000 in fees to cover refunds for North Carolina consumers and the costs of the state's investigation. Cooper's office also obtained a judgment in the amount of $1.5 million, which it will try to obtain as part of the company's bankruptcy proceedings.