Nick Rees Dec. 27, 2012, 9:13pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (Legal Newsline) - North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has announced that a Florida debt relief firm will pay $100,000 in refunds for failing to provide meaningful help to consumers.

The case against Payday Loan Debt Solutions Inc. and Sanjeet Parvani, the company's president, is the first joint effort between states and the Consumer Financial Protectiom Bureau. The CFPB teamed with North Carolina, Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota and Wisconsin on the case.

"Companies that take your good money, promise debt relief, and then drive you deeper in the hole are breaking the law," Cooper said. "By working with other states and federal consumer protection authorities, we've been able to put a stop to this illegal behavior and win money back for consumers."

PLDS was found to have routinely charged upfront fees to consumers prior to settling their debts, which is a violation of both state and federal laws. It is illegal to charge an upfront fee for debt settlement help under North Carolina law. Approximately 80 consumers in North Carolina are believed to have paid PLDS for debt relief, according to the company's records.

A federal district court, at the request of Cooper, the other states and the CFPB, ordered PDLS to pay $100,000 in refunds to consumers who were charged advanced fees by the company but received no debt settlement services. The court's order also requires the company to pay a $5,000 penalty and prohibits it from engaging in unlawful conduct in the futures.

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