Global Client Solutions got $61.50 from C H and pays up $1500.
C H, like many of my bankruptcy clients, tried to “settle” her debts before talking to a bankruptcy lawyer. She paid $1,133.48 to Global Client Solutions as part of a debt settlement plan, before she realized NONE of the money was going to settle her debts.
Global Client Solutions handled the “dedicated settlement account” Credit Advocates Law Firm set up for C H. Global, in fact, handles the settlement accounts for more than 400! different debt settlement operations.
We sued Global for $3400.44–three times the money she lost, under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. Global replied they had only gotten $61.50 out of that $1,133.48–claiming “the remaining $1,071.98 was assessed by Credit Advocates Law Firm.” (We’re suing Credit Advocates, too.)
I pointed out that the Federal Trade Commission telemarketing rule says these debt settlement “law firms” cannot charge ANY fee until they have actually settled some debts. (The fact that they do is one reason these debt settlements rarely work. So much money goes to fees, there’s no money to pay the creditors, even if they want to settle. Which they often don’t.)
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau has gone after Global, saying that since their business is handling these debt settlement accounts, and their own records show they are paying “law firms” fees that are not yet earned, they are equally guilty in violating that law. (You can read more about that, here.)
I repeated what the CFPB said, back to Global’s legal department. (I also pointed out that we had sued them twice before.)
Then Global came back with a check for $1500. I got $750 of that, and C H got $750. So C H has not quite gotten all her money back. Yet.
We are suing five other outfits who had their finger prints on this deal. I hope C H will end up getting back three times what she lost–that’s what Virginia law says she should get.
PS So who else are we suing for C H?
Credit Advocates Law Firm, LLC is the name of the outfit that was taking money out of the Global account. Their website is gone. (I found them, though, on the Wayback machine, here.)
Credit Advocates said they were also the Law Firm of Adela Estopinan. Adela Estopinan seems to be licensed as a lawyer in Florida.
The people who put C H in touch with Credit Advocates used two names. They called themselves Cornerstone Legal; and they also called themselves Fast Track Debt Relief. Both of those still have active websites; and Cornerstone either copied or just took over the Credit Advocates website. (See here, the SEO title for Cornerstone is Credit Advocates?!)
Referring people from one outfit to another seems to be standard in the debt settlement world. I guessing because they each want to claim, like Global tried, that somebody else actually got the money.
They are all due to make their first court appearance in Fairfax on April 12, 2016. I’ll let you know who shows up.