Bryan Cohen Apr. 23, 2013, 5:14pm

DALLAS (Legal Newsline) - Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced Friday that he obtained an asset freeze and a temporary restraining order against a Dallas-based debt management company that allegedly defrauded its customers.

Abbott alleged that Credit Alliance Group, doing business as Credit Services Today, and Shane Garner, the company's owner, violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by charging customers upfront fees to help customers with debt issues. CAG allegedly claimed it would help customers eliminate 20 to 60 percent of their debts within three years and that customers would not owe CAG money if the firm failed to deliver. Nevertheless, CAG allegedly charged customers up to 35 percent of the debt they owed and failed to deliver on its services.

CAG allegedly deposited and commingled customer funds into its own operating account, giving customers no control over their own money. Garner allegedly used customer funds to pay his own personal bills. CAG clients allegedly tried and failed to obtain refunds on advance fees paid or on accumulated funds the defendant promised to hold in trust.

Abbott's office estimates that CAG owes 52 clients more than $180,000 in escrowed funds alone.

CAG also failed to register as a debt management services entity with the Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner, which is a violation of the Texas Finance Code.

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