18 Oct CFPB Sues Debt-Relief Companies Illegally Posing As Federal Government
Bureau Alleges that Three Companies and Their Owners Charged Illegal Advance Fees, Lied About Debt-Relief Results
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today filed suit in federal court against two companies operating under the name “FDAA,” a service provider, and their owners for falsely presenting FDAA as being affiliated with the federal government. The CFPB also alleges that FDAA’s so-called “debt validation” programs violated the law by falsely promising to eliminate consumers’ debts and improve their credit scores in exchange for thousands of dollars in advance fees. The CFPB’s lawsuit seeks to end these deceptive practices, obtain redress for harmed consumers, and impose civil money penalties.
“FDAA and its owners lied to financially vulnerable consumers to line their pockets with cash,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Today’s lawsuit seeks to stop these deceptive practices, impose civil money penalties, and return to cheated consumers the fees they paid to these companies.”
Federal Debt Assistance Association, LLC and Financial Document Assistance Administration, Inc., both operating as FDAA, are headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. FDAA claims to provide advice and assistance to consumers to eliminate all or a portion of their debts and improve their credit scores. Clear Solutions, Inc., also headquartered in Baltimore, processed consumer payments for the FDAA companies and provided other services.
Vincent Piccione, David Piccione, and Robert Pantoulis own or owned the FDAA companies and Clear Solutions. Vincent Piccione was the president of and managed the FDAA companies, with responsibility for their marketing materials and solicitation of consumers. David Piccione was the telemarketing sales floor manager of the FDAA companies, managed the telemarketing sales of the companies, and participated in the development of the companies’ marketing materials. Robert Pantoulis was the director of client services of the FDAA companies and was responsible for their debt-management programs.