According to my friend Steve Rohde, Legal Helpers Debt Resolution has been hit hard with a class action in New Jersey. What’s really interesting is that not only have a host of related entities and principals been sued, but so have some of the salespeople who were pushing this debt relief product on unsuspected consumers.
The folks were are being listed as defendants are: Legal Helpers Debt Resolution, The Law Firm of Macey, Aleman, Hyslip and Searns (the name Macey & Aleman may be familiar as the firm behind Legal Helpers, a nationwide bankruptcy law firm), Eclipse Servicing, Global Client Solutions, Legal Services Support Group, JG Debt Solutions, Rocky Mountain Bank & Trust, Lynch Financial Solutions, Lynch Financial Solutions Legal Center, Financial Solutions Consumer Center, Financial Solutions Processing Center, JEM Group, Century Mitigations, Legal Helpers, Thomas Macey, Jeffrey Aleman, Jason Searns, Jeffrey Hyslip, Thomas Nicely, Joel Gavalas, Amber Duncan, Harry Hedaya, Douglas McClure, and Michael Hendrix.
That’s a pretty big list of defendants, all of whom are alleged to have “created a plan or scheme to defraud the residents of the State of New Jersey and other states by performing unlawful debt adjustment activities and engaging in the unauthorized practice of law in the State of New Jersey”.
Legal Helpers Debt Resolution works with front-end lead generators and back-end service companies, financial institutions and other attorneys in New Jersey and other states to provide debt adjustment services.
That’s not the problem, though – the issue is that the firm allegedly creates the impression that services will be performed or provided by attorneys. In reality, the suit claims, no lawyer is every involved in the matter. That’s apparently in violation of the New Jersey Debt Adjustment and Credit Counseling Act, N.J.S.A. 17:16G-1, et seq. since these services are performed by for profit entities or persons not permitted to operate such business in New Jersey under the Act.
There are also claims relating to the unauthorized practice of law, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, N.J.S.A. 56:8-1, et seq., the New Jersey Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:41-1, et seq., and other New Jersey laws.
Legal Helpers has been the recipient of much bad press, and at some level I’m not shocked that enough people have finally gotten angry enough to bring the issue to a judge. Either the allegations will be proven true, in which case good riddance to bad rubbish, or false. This isn’t the first lawsuit in which Legal Helpers has been made a defendant, however.
Will this make those folks who sell debt settlement by phone and online think twice about who they work for? I think it should, though I wonder how well plugged-in those on the front lines are to the goings-on of those in the boardrooms. The salespeople are probably barely making ends meet as is, and deciding whether to cast their lot with a “national law firm” or go hungry likely doesn’t make for a tough choice.
At any rate, if you’ve been working with Legal Helpers now is a pretty good time to track down one of the lawyers working on the case (I’ve got no involvement in this, nor do I do class action work).
Image credit: elycefeliz