In 2015, the CFPB filed a lawsuit against the World Law Group for charging “‘vulnerable consumers suffering financial difficulties'” “‘exorbitant, illegal upfront fees,'” promising legal help to get out of debt. The CFPB “obtained a temporary restraining order” to “temporarily shut down” the firm in September 2015, and in July 2016, reached a $107 million settlement with the World Law Group, but it has yet to be approved by the court.
- The case, 1:15-cv-23070-MGC, was filed in U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida._ The suit named World Law Group and its interrelated businesses, “Orion Processing,_LLC; Family Capital Investment & Management LLC a/k/a FCIAM Property Management;_World Law Debt_Services, LLC; and_World Law Processing,_LLC,” and its managers, “Derin Scott, David Klein and Bradley James Haskins.” Legal action was taken against the firm, and the CFPB “obtained a temporary restraining order against it in early September.” [Darren Waggoner, “Feds Shut Down Debt Relief Law Firm,” American Banker, 09/15/15]
- The firm “allegedly took $67 million in upfront fees from at least 21,000 people, while misleading consumers with promises that local lawyers would be available to help. World Law charged ‘exorbitant, illegal upfront fees from vulnerable consumers suffering financial difficulties.'” Consumers “were told to stop paying their bills and instead pay into a special account set up to be used later for debt settlement negotiations.” [Darren Waggoner, “Feds Shut Down Debt Relief Law Firm,” American Banker, 09/15/15]
- It was alleged that consumers “rarely received relief via World Law, which siphoned big fees out of the consumers’ accounts. Initial fees were $199, followed by an ‘attorney monthly service fee’ of $84.95 and a ‘bundled legal service fee’ of 10% to 15%_of the consumers’ outstanding balance.” [Darren Waggoner, “Feds Shut Down Debt Relief Law Firm,” American Banker, 09/15/15]
- The CFPB “reached a stipulated $107 million settlement” with the World Law Group in July 2016. The settlement included “three individuals, which payment will be suspended if those individuals turn over frozen assets in their personal bank accounts, commercial property, and approximately a dozen vehicles. The agreement also prohibits the defendants from telemarketing or assisting others in telemarketing any consumer financial product or service, and they cannot sell, advertise, or own debt relief products.” The judgement has yet to be approved by the federal court in charge of the case, which is open as of February 28, 2017. [Darren Waggoner, “Feds Shut Down Debt Relief Law Firm,” American Banker, 09/15/15; Jonathan Floyd and “Texas: CFPB Week in Review,” Stinson Leonard Street, 07/24/16]