Consumer Finance Insights
September 11, 2015

CFPB Settles Claims of Illegal Upfront Fee Collection Against Debt Relief Company CEO

On September 10, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a final order settling claims against the CEO of a bankrupt debt relief company under the Consumer Financial Protection Act, Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse and Prevention Act, and Telemarketing Sales Rule.  The CEO admitted to charging upfront fees for the company’s debt relief services; misrepresenting that consumers were not charged such upfront fees; and misrepresenting that consumers enrolled in the company’s debt services could be debt-free within months of enrollment.

The order permanently bans the CEO from telemarketing and providing any debt relief product or service; making certain misrepresentations in connection with any consumer financial product or service; and using previously collected consumer information in connection with any debt relief product or service.  The order also imposes a $99,389,115 judgment to redress affected customers and a $20,000,000 civil penalty, although a portion of the judgment and all but $1 of the penalty was suspended.