We are dedicated to protecting consumers and to ensuring that harmed consumers are repaid for any money lost due to fraudulent or deceptive business practices. This Wednesday we announced a settlement with the debt consolidation company United Financial Systems, Inc. and its principal, Christopher Boulahanis. The settlement resolves an investigation into the company’s failure to provide consumers promised refunds. The agreement requires the company to refund approximately 500 consumers more than $595,000 in restitution in total.
The settlement agreement provides a strict enforcement mechanism such that any failure to make timely payments by United Financial Systems will result in a court ordered judgment against the company and its principals for the full amount of refunds due plus an additional $500,000 in civil penalties. The settlement also precludes the company and its representatives from engaging in credit counseling, debt management or debt consolidation in Florida.
Any consumers who were defrauded by United Financial Systems should contact our office immediately if they have not submitted an affidavit in this matter. All affected consumers must submit a sworn affidavit documenting the amount of their loss by Jan. 20, 2012. Consumers can download an affidavit form at http://www.myfloridalegal.com/UnitedFinancialSystems.
The people who sought financial relief from this debt consolidation company were already facing difficult financial times, which were exacerbated when the company failed to refund their money. I am pleased that we are helping 500 consumers receive nearly $600,000 in restitution.
Attorney General Bondi Announces the Convictions of Two Prescription Drug Traffickers in Southwest Florida
Attorney General Bondi announced the convictions of Celese Shere Gordon, 28, of Bradenton, and Lapar Donta Conley, 29, of Parrish, for Trafficking in Oxycodone and Conspiracy to Traffic in Oxycodone. Their drug trafficking activities were associated with the JW Wellness pain clinic in Tampa, which was closed by authorities earlier this year.
Gordon and Conley were prosecuted by the Office of Statewide Prosecution under the Attorney General’s Office. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation, which led to the seizure of hundreds of oxycodone pills and discontinued a major source of oxycodone in the Bradenton area. JW Wellness operated in Hillsborough County and was investigated for prescribing oxycodone to patients who knowingly submitted fraudulent medical records.
The trial was presided over by Judge Gilbert Smith of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Florida. Both defendants face up to 60 years in prison for their activities and the sentencing will occur at a later date.
Attorney General Bondi Announces Arrest of Caregiver for Exploiting 12 Disabled Adults
Attorney General Bondi announces that a Putnam County woman has been arrested on charges that she exploited twelve disabled adults. Nicole Hankerson was arrested by law enforcement officers with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit with assistance from the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office.
Hankerson was arrested and has been charged with twelve counts of exploitation of a disabled adult and one count of organized scheme to defraud, all third-degree felonies. If convicted on all charges, she faces up to 65 years in prison and a $65,000 fine. The case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office for the Seventh Judicial Circuit.
Attorney General Bondi Speaks at Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Press Conference Announcing Cybercrime Arrests
On Thursday, Attorney General Bondi spoke at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s press conference applauding law enforcement’s successful six-month investigation resulting in 48 cybercrime arrests.