TALLAHASSEE, FL – LawFuel.com – Legal Announcements – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that a settlement has been reached in a case brought by Capital One against affiliated Hess Kennedy companies which engaged in fraudulent debt settlement activities. Under the settlement approved today, Capital One will forgive the credit card debt of approximately 18,000 consumers nationwide, including nearly 1,900 Florida residents, who contracted with the Hess Kennedy companies for the fraudulent services. Laura Hess and the Hess Kennedy Companies are currently in Receivership as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Attorney Generals Office in February. As part of this settlement, Capital One will receive a payment of $1.825 million from the assets of the Hess Kennedy companies.
I applaud Capital One Bank for being proactive in assisting its customers who were taken advantage of by this scheme, and I encourage other banks and financial institutions to follow this excellent example and to work with my office on behalf of their customers who have also been victimized , said Attorney General McCollum.
Earlier this month, Judge Ronald Rothschild in Broward County Circuit Court ordered Hesss companies be liquidated and settlements be reached to help provide restitution to affected consumers. Capital One will receive a payment of $1.825 million from the assets of the Hess Kennedy companies and the impacted consumers will soon receive letters from the Receiver containing additional information about the effect of the settlement on them.
The Attorney Generals Office had sued and obtained injunctions and Receivership orders against Hess and her companies for engaging in deceptive debt settlement and debt management practices victimizing tens of thousands of consumers. Hess and the Hess Kennedy group of companies are now under Receivership as a result of the Attorney Generals lawsuit.
Capital One cooperated with the Attorney Generals Office to assist in the actions against the Hess Kennedy companies and partnered with the Attorney General to have an injunction entered against Hess Kennedy to further protect consumers from Hess Kennedy’s abusive practices.
The lawsuit against Laura Hess was filed by the Attorney Generals Economic Crimes Division and named Hesss Broward County law firm and several other Florida-based companies she controlled. The lawsuit accused Hess of signing thousands of credit card debtors up for debt management services and claiming the law firm would provide legal services to cancel debts for pennies on the dollar. Representatives of Hess allegedly told consumers that the companies had audited the consumers accounts and found numerous violations under the Fair Credit Billing Act, then sent notices to creditors disputing all charges. Consumers were falsely told that once these notices were issued, the consumers did not have to pay creditors and creditors could not sue or otherwise take action against them. This deception led to lawsuits and other actions against several debtors.
A Receiver is a court-appointed individual who takes control of the operations of a company or companies for the purpose of protecting assets and customers under the authority of the court.