Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today charged a Houston-based credit repair firm with violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The state's enforcement action names Jubilee Financial Solutions LP, also known as The Credit Card Solution (TCCS) - a self-proclaimed debt invalidation business - its parent company, Jubilee Financial Management LLC, and the companies' owner, Robert Mitchell Lindsey.
Court documents filed by the attorney general requested an asset freeze, which was granted by a Harris County district judge. The state sought the asset freeze because investigators believe the defendants are improperly withholding $500,000 in customers' payments that should have been applied to debt relief services.
Through various Web sites - including thecreditcardsolution.com - the defendants claimed they could eliminate credit card and other debts by helping customers fight credit reporting agencies, dispute debts and sue debt collectors. The defendants also promised access to legal services, which they claimed could yield monetary damages from lawsuits against debt collectors.
Marketing materials obtained by state investigators shows the defendants claimed their debt invalidation program can eliminate customers' debt in as little as 12 to 18 months by relying upon federal consumer protection laws. In videos on the defendants' Web site, Lindsey claims that TCCS has gotten rid of $150 million of credit card debt.
According to the state's enforcement action, the defendants are unlawfully operating an unregistered credit services organization (CSO). Under the Texas Credit Services Organization Act, CSOs must register with the Secretary of State and obtain a surety bond or surety account. The defendants have done neither.
TCCS also offers an Affiliate Information Package online, which gives interested individuals the opportunity to market and sell the defendants' services. However, court documents filed by the state indicate the defendants' affiliate program is subject to the Texas Business Opportunity Act, which requires vendors to register with the Secretary of State and obtain surety bonds or surety accounts. The state's enforcement action charges TCCS with failing to comply with those requirements.
The state's enforcement action also charges the defendants with multiple Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) violations, including not providing services as advertised and withholding information about goods or services when entering into a transaction.
The state seeks penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of the DTPA, restitution for Texans harmed by the defendants' business practices, and attorneys' fees. Texans who believe they have been deceived by similar fraudulent business practices may call the Office of the Attorney General's toll-free complaint line at (800) 252-8011 or file a complaint online at texasattorneygeneral.gov.
San Mateo, California