The State Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Unit filed an administrative complaint against a debt management company Centerdon Group, Inc. n / k / a Hilvanim Group, Inc., for allegedly violating the Delaware Uniform Debt-Management Services Act, the Delaware Consumer Fraud Act, and the Delaware Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
A statement said the southern California-based company was not licensed in Delaware.
“Delawaren who are struggling with debt deserve our help, not the exploitation,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “Centerdon was targeting seniors and low-income victims in our state who were looking for help getting out of debt. Centerdon chained them up and billed them high fees through illegal debt management contracts, all without providing any significant help. We will hold Centerdon accountable for its illegal and deceptive debt management services, as well as any other illegal debt management service providers. “
The lawsuit alleges that Centerdon used deceptive advertising directed at Delaware residents and then had a Delaware notary attend the victims’ homes and present their debt settlement contracts as Centerdon’s “representative”.
The agreements repeatedly referred to Centerdon as a “law firm” and were referred to as the “Legal Services Agreement” despite the fact that Centerdon did not employ any attorneys licensed to practice law in Delaware.
The Centerdon deals also contained hidden, duplicative and deceptive fees designed to enrich Centerdon to the detriment of Delaware consumers, according to a statement.
The lawsuit is being handled by Deputy Attorney General Katherine Devanney, Special Investigator Joe Rago and Paralegal Tiffany Williams, under the supervision of Director of Consumer Protection, Marion Quirk.
An email message has been sent to Centerdon to solicit comments.