On March 26, 2015, the Massachusetts Attorney General announced that on March 17, a state judge ordered a local financial and legal services company to pay more than $1.9 million for alleged misrepresentations and the unauthorized practice of law. The complaint alleged that the company misrepresented to customers the services it provided, charged unlawful advance fees, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law, and failed to deliver, as promised, the services it represented and refunds upon request. The complaint alleged that the company targeted minority and non-native English speakers who experienced financial hardships. The judgment states that the financial company obtained at least $1.2 million from more than 600 Massachusetts customers as a result of the company’s actions. Under the final judgment, the company is to pay $1.9 million to the Commonwealth, including $1.2 million in restitution to affected customers, $665,000 in civil penalties, and $55,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs. The company is also prohibited from doing business in the Commonwealth in connection with loan modification, bankruptcy petition preparation, legal document preparation, and financial advising services.
Blog Enforcement Watch March 26, 2015