CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against national tax preparer Mo' Money for allegedly charging taxpayers at least $800,000 in hidden fees and costs for services.
Madigan's lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, seeks to shut down Mo' Money locations in the East St. Louis and Chicago areas and refund customers at least $800,000. Mo' Money also allegedly filed inaccurate tax returns without the authorization of consumers.
"Without customers' permission, this company filed annual tax returns riddled with errors and charged taxpayers exorbitant, undisclosed fees, but worst of all, it failed to provide consumers with their refund checks," Madigan said. "While the promise of fast cash may be tempting, these heavily marketed refund services always end up costing taxpayers much more in the end."
The Memphis, Tenn.-based Mo' Money allegedly advertised its tax refund anticipation programs to low-income taxpayers primarily as a way to receive and spend refunds right away. Mo' Money allegedly used the programs to automatically deduct hundreds of dollars in undisclosed fees. Consumers allegedly had as much as $700 per person deducted before receiving their refunds.
Mo' Money also allegedly filed tax returns, some of which were fraught with errors, without the consumers' authorization. In some alleged cases, Mo' Money also charged fees to file Illinois state tax returns without completing the filings on the taxpayers' behalf. Consumers allegedly waited weeks or indefinitely to receive refund checks to no avail due to the deceptive practices.
Madigan's office received 76 complaints against Mo' Money this year. Consumers have also contacted the Chicago Police Department, the city of Chicago and the Better Business Bureau about the company.