Illinois Attorney Faces Discipline for FDCPA and Credit Restoration Referral Fees Paid to Non-Attorney

An Illinois attorney faces disciplinary discipline charges allegeing the attorney violated the Rules of Professional Conduct when he paid referral fees to a non-lawyer.

The attorney was a principal in the “Consumer Credit Defense Network” (CCDN) self-styled as “a network of attorneys across the nation the nation . . . that specialize in the unsecured debt relief, negotiation and litigation arena (sic).”

In addition to the referral fees, the Board alleges that the attorney deceived his clients in the nature of services provided. A client would receive a “Debt Reconciliation Program Enrollment Manual” after paying a fee between $2,500 and $4,800. The Manual outlined three stages, 1) credit restoration; 2) “reconciliation” and 3) “federal lawsuit.”

The “credit restoration” portion of the program was simply to refer clients to “The Fulfillment Center” an entity in which the attorney was not a participant. The complaint alleges neither CCDN nor the attorney provided any credit restoration service.

The reconciliation service is alleged to amount to providing clients with form letters to send to debt collectors. Although the CCDN’s Manual and website stated that it would send the form letters, the Complaint alleges none were ever sent

The website, which is still running today, is at http://www.ccdn.cc/default.asp

A link to the complaint is below.

CCDN_Lock Hearing Report

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Donald Maurice provides counsel to the financial services industry, successfully litigating matters in the state and federal courts in individual and class actions. He has successfully argued before the Third, Fourth and Eighth Circuit U.S. Courts of Appeals, and has represented the financial services industry before several courts including as counsel for amicus curiae before the United States Supreme Court. He counsels clients in regulatory actions before the CFPB, and other federal and state regulators and in the development and testing of debt collection compliance systems. Don is peer-rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell, the worldwide guide to lawyers. In addition to being a frequent speaker and author on consumer financial services law, he serves as legal counsel to DBA International and as chair of the ABA's Bankruptcy and Debt Collection Subcommittee. He serves on the governing Board of Regents of the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers and on the Governing Committee of the Conference on Consumer Finance Law .