BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) - Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler announced on Thursday that he has issued a cease and desist order against an allegedly unlicensed lawyer and his business for illegally providing professional services.
Corey W. Hankerson and his business, The Equity Law Group LLC, allegedly preyed on consumers by offering legal assistance and credit services when Hankerson was not licensed as a lawyer or as a credit services professional.
"Offering legal assistance or credit services without a license exploits those consumers who find themselves in trouble and desperate for help," Gansler said. "The licensing and registration requirements are there to ensure consumers spend their hard-earned money on getting the help they need from legitimate professionals."
Hankerson allegedly charged consumers who were facing severe financial problems and foreclosures for supposedly providing loan modifications and legal representation in bankruptcy proceedings. He allegedly charged consumers thousands of dollars but provided them little or no services.
Gansler's Consumer Protection Division ordered Hankerson to immediately stop selling and offering legal services, credit services and foreclosure consulting services unless he obtains the required licenses. The division also ordered Hankerson to return all of the money he collected from consumers for the unlicensed credit and legal services he sold and performed. Three consumers who provided affidavits in support of the division's charges are owed a combined $5,000 by Hankerson.
The division also ordered Hankerson to comply with the Maryland Credit Services Businesses Act and the Maryland Foreclosure Consulting Act by providing consumers with the notices and information required by the laws.
The acts require consumers to be given detailed information about the services to be performed, the obligations of the providers of such services and the costs that are involved. Hankerson is also required to post a bond or other cash security with the division in the amount of $20,000 if he intends to legally offer any legal or credit service in the future.