Cordray files suit against couple

Keith Loria Aug. 26, 2010, 1:58pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray has filed a lawsuit against two individuals he alleges scammed senior citizens who sought help in applying for Medicaid.

The lawsuit names Andrea K. West and George W. West, formerly of Dublin, Ohio, and now believed to be residing in New Mexico. The duo's alleged scam violated Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Solicitations Act multiple times.

"The Wests operated a business called Estate Planning Paralegal Services and told consumers they were paralegals, when in fact that was a misrepresentation," Cordray said.

"They targeted residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the state, promising to help the residents apply for Medicaid.

Although the Wests received thousands of dollars in payment, they never delivered the promised services."

Estate Planning Paralegal Services, Cordray alleges, operated out of Dublin and did not employ any lawyers. The Wests misrepresented that consumers would receive professional services associated with legal counsel by using the word "paralegal," Cordray alleges.

Seniors were charged as much as $5,000 by the Wests, who posed as "Medicaid specialists" providing assistance with the Medicaid application process, Cordray says. Agreements were often reached at consumers' homes, but consumers were often not provided with a three day right to cancel contract, which is required by Ohio law, Cordray says.

After the Wests accepted payment, Cordray alleges, they failed to provide the contracted for services. They also failed to return original copies of important financial documents to consumers.

Estate Planning Paralegal Services, Cordray alleges, was also not incorporated or registered with the state as a business.

Cordray's lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, restitution and civil penalties.

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