Defendants World Law Debt Services, LLC, World Law Processing, LLC, and Family Capital Investment & Management LLC, face a potentially hefty penalty after failing to respond to a complaint filed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau relating to alleged illegal debt relief services.
According to a complaint filed in the Southern District of Florida in August 2015, the defendants operated a debt relief business that targeted consumers with large debts, promising that the defendants’ lawyers would negotiate affordable repayment plans with consumers’ creditors and provide legal representation if the consumer stopped paying their creditors and instead paid the defendants. The defendants allegedly collected at least $67 million from consumers in illegal upfront fees before providing any debt-relief services. Additionally, few, if any, of the customers actually interacted with a lawyer, and most of the services purportedly were provided by non–lawyers. The CFPB’s complaint alleged violations of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 and the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act.
In December 2015, the defendants were found to be in default for their failure to respond to the complaint. On July 7, 2016, the CFPB filed a motion for default judgment against the defendants, seeking nearly $107 million as an equitable monetary judgment, and a civil money penalty of $40 million. The Bureau additionally seeks injunctive relief against the defendants, including a permanent ban on marketing, offering, or providing any debt relief services.