Bondi settles with debt consolidation company

Bryan Cohen Dec. 14, 2011, 12:31am


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced a settlement on Wednesday with a debt consolidation company and its principal for allegedly failing to provide promised refunds to consumers.

United Financial Systems Inc. and Christopher Boulahanis, its principal, are required to refund approximately 500 consumers over $595,000 in restitution in total.

"The people who sought financial relief from this debt consolidation company were already facing difficult financial times, which were exacerbated when the company failed to refund their money," Bondi said. "I am pleased that we are helping 500 consumers receive nearly $600,000 in restitution."

Under terms of the settlement, a strict enforcement mechanism will be put in place to ensure that any failure by the company to make timely payments will result in a court ordered judgment against the company and its principals.

The judgment requires United Financial Systems to pay the full amount of refunds due plus an additional $500,000 in civil penalties. In addition, the settlement precludes the company and its representatives from engaging in debt management, credit counseling or debt consolidation in Florida.

The money recovered from the settlement will be distributed to the defrauded consumers by Bondi's office in two payments - a partial payment on March 31 and a final pro rata payment on Sept. 30. All of the consumers affected by the case must submit a sworn affidavit documenting the amount of their loss postmarked by Jan. 20.

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