Bryan Cohen Jan. 2, 2014, 6:58pm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced a lawsuit on Thursday against a Nevada debt settlement company based in Chicago that allegedly violated state consumer protection laws.

Legal Helpers Debt Resolution LLC allegedly misrepresented that its lawyers could provide debt relief services in West Virginia. Morrisey alleges more than 250 West Virginians enrolled with the company and collectively paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in advance fees, only to have the company fail to deliver its services. The company also allegedly failed to ensure its attorneys were licensed to practice law in West Virginia.

"Our office is committed to protecting West Virginia consumers from any business that does not adhere to the laws on our books," Morrisey said.

The lawsuit named the company's principal owners, Thomas Macy, Jeffrey Aleman and Jason Searns, as well as Jeffrey Hyslip, the company's former partner, as defendants. The lawsuit seeks to permanently enjoin and restrain Legal Helpers from conducting illegal business in West Virginia. It also seeks refunds, restitution, civil fines and penalties.

"Debt settlement is one form of debt relief that may work for some people," Morrisey said. "But when lawyers claim they are going to provide the services, they ought to handle the licensing issues properly."

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