Consumer Bureau Action Tracker

CFPB v. Vincent Howard, Lawrence W. Williamson, Howard Law, P.C., The Williamson Law Firm, LLC, and Williamson & Howard, LLP


State

California, Kansas, Missouri

target

Vincent Howard, Lawrence W. Williamson, Howard Law, P.C., The Williamson Law Firm, LLC, and Williamson & Howard, LLP

Topics

Enforcement, Debt Relief

On January 30, 2017, the CFPB sued lawyers Vincent Howard and Lawrence W. Williamson in the US District Court for the Central District of California. The attorneys, who both had “debt relief operations” were sued for operating alleged “debt settlement scams” that “typically target[ed] people with credit card debt.” The suit alleged that Howard and Williamson collected fees before they settled clients’ debt by making them sign two agreements, one for debt-reduction services, and the other for bankruptcy services. Allegedly, they used the latter “as a ruse to disguise the upfront fees” and that customers “believed they were seeking services related to debt relief not bankruptcy.” The CFPB lists this case as an “active” complaint with the last action having taken place on January 30, 2017.

  • Vincent Howard and Lawrence Williamson were attorneys with “debt relief operations.” [Hannah Madans, “Debt relief attorneys sued”, Orange County Register, 02/02/17]
  • “Debt settlement scams typically target people with credit card debt, promising to reduce the amount owed. According to the Federal Trade Commission, many companies try to collect fees before they have settled your debt, which is illegal, and fail to explain risks involved.”_ [Hannah Madans, “Debt relief attorneys sued”, Orange County Register, 02/02/17]
  • “Debt relief providers are prohibited from charging a fee until they have settled, reduced or change the terms of a client’s debt, according to the CFPB.” [Hannah Madans, “Debt relief attorneys sued”, Orange County Register, 02/02/17]
  • The CFPB alleged that the firms made customers sign “one [contract] for debt relief settlement services and the other for bankruptcy-related series” and then used the contract for bankruptcy services, “as a ruse to disguise the upfront fees.” Customers allege that they “believed they were seeking services related to debt relief not bankruptcy.” [Ashlee Kieler, “Feds Sue Debt Relief Law Firm For Charging Customers Illegal Fees”, Consumerist, 01/30/17]

Status

Active


8:17-cv-00161 1/30/2017 1/30/2017

CFPB Sues Debt Relief Attorneys for Collecting Illegal Fees from Struggling Consumers
http://www.consumerfinance.gov/policy-compliance/enforcement/actions/vincent-howard-lawrence-w-williamson-howard-law-pc-williamson-law-firm-llc-and-williamson-howard-llp/

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
  • Federal district court case
  • U.S. District Court for the Central District of California
  • Nonbank
  • Pending
  • Not Available

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