According to a lawsuit filed by Chase, two Coral Springs attorneys are scamming their clients by promising to eliminate their debts, and then diverting debt payments for legal fees to file meritless lawsuits challenging credit card debts. The attorneys general of Florida, North Carolina, and West Virginia are also involved, and the Florida bar has moved to suspend the license of Laura Hess. “Defendants’ ulterior goals are to extract fees from card members who should be paying the money to Chase to satisfy their debts and to maliciously harass Chase in an improper (albeit unsuccessful) attempt to coerce the elimination of their clients’ legitimate debts.” (Bud Newman, “Chase Bank Accuses Florida Law Firms of Running Debt-Relief Scam”, Daily Business Review, Mar. 6).
Update: See also Mar. 6 Business Week; on-line at the self-reported Rip-Off Report; and WATE (Tennessee), Apr. 2. “‘The programs typically require financially strapped consumers to pay fees up front, so they make money whether or not any useful services are performed,’ says Philip Lehman, an assistant attorney general in North Carolina.”