MADISON (WSAU-Wheeler News) The state Justice Department has filed suit against a debt-resolution company from Chicago, for allegedly taking millions-of-dollars in illegal fees from Wisconsinites. The attorney general’s office said the former Legal Helpers portrayed itself as a law firm, while actually operating as an unlicensed debt settlement service. It ran between 2009 and last April.
State Justice officials said 1,900 financially-strapped Wisconsinites enrolled – and they were illegally charged fees of up to $900 upfront, plus $50-to-$75 a month. According to the state’s complaint, one consumer paid $18,000 to Legal Helpers – and the firm never tried to negotiate the person’s debt levels.
The Justice Department said Legal Helpers used non-lawyers in an out-of-state third party to deal with debt cases – and consumers complained that they could never talk to an attorney. The state seeks up to $10,000 violation, restitution to customers, and possible prison time for the former company’s owners.