Debt elimination scheme nets Florida couple $240,000 fine

Nick Rees Nov. 18, 2008, 4:13pm

Bill McCollum (R)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) A fraudulent debt elimination scheme in Florida that allegedly victimized more than 2,000 consumers has lead to a $240,000 settlement agreement between the state and two individuals.

Thomas Spiller, the national marketing director for New Leaf Associates, LLC, and his wife Linda Spiller will pay $240,000 to be used for restitution to victims of their debt elimination scheme under terms of a settlement agreement reached with Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum's Economic Crimes Division.

Fliers distributed by Spiller claimed to offer debt elimination services through New Leaf Associates, LLC. Heavy fees for the service were then attached for what New Leaf called a legal administrative process that would eliminate credit card and student loan debt while improving credit scores.

Spiller would attract consumers to New Leaf with presentations where he showed examples of debt elimination customer success stories that had actually been fixed by paying off the debt with other consumers' enrollment fees.

Proceeds from Spiller's scheme were then transferred into annuities. Spiller and his wife hid the additional profits in a shell company the couple created.

Thomas Spiller, under terms of the settlement, agreed to no longer market certain consumer financial services including any services similar to New Leaf's alleged services. The $240,000 the Spillers must pay will be placed in escrow for victim restitution.

The attorney general's office can pursue enforcement of the $1.8 million and $1.2 million consent judgments against the Spillers if they do not comply with the terms.

Litigation is still being pursued against other New Leaf participants. The Spiller settlement is the largest of the settlements reached with anyone involved with New Leaf so far.

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