RALEIGH, N.C. (Legal Newsline) - North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper filed a lawsuit on Friday against a Chicago-based debt settlement company that allegedly took money from consumers but failed to help them reduce their debts.
Legal Helpers Debt Resolution PLLC and its principals - Thomas Macey, Jeffrey Aleman, Jason Searns and Jeffrey Hyslip - allegedly took more than $1.1 million in fees from approximately 412 North Carolina consumers. Legal Helpers allegedly told consumers they could reduce their debt by up to 65 percent and have them debt-free in three to four years.
Cooper's Consumer Protection Division received 61 complaints from consumers alleging Legal Helpers failed to provide them with expertise and reduce their debts.
"Consumers overwhelmed with debt need real help, not schemers looking to make a quick buck off of them," Cooper said. "We pushed for a strong law in North Carolina that makes it illegal to collect money upfront for debt relief work and we'll keep enforcing the law against violators."
North Carolina law prohibits the collection of advance fees for debt settlement services.
Cooper's lawsuit requests that the court ban the defendants from offering debt settlement services in North Carolina. The suit also seeks the payment of refunds to previous consumers and civil penalties.
"There is no fast, easy way out of financial troubles," Cooper said. "Don't put yourself deeper in a hole by falling for empty promises to settle your debt for pennies on the dollar."