|December 14, 2011
Contact: Whitney Ray
Phone: (850) 245-0150
|en Español||Print Version||Tweet|
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.–Attorney General Pam Bondi today announced that her office has reached 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 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 Pam Bondi stated.
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.
The settlement monies will be distributed to the defrauded consumers by the Office of the Florida Attorney General in two payments: a partial payment March 31, 2012, and a final pro rata payment Sept. 30, 2012. All affected consumers must submit a sworn affidavit documenting the amount of their loss postmarked by Jan. 20, 2012.
Any consumers who were defrauded by United Financial Systems should contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office immediately if they have not submitted an affidavit in this matter. Consumers can download an affidavit form at http://www.myfloridalegal.com/UnitedFinancialSystems . The website will be routinely updated with new and relevant information. Alternately, consumers can obtain an affidavit or additional information by contacting the Economic Crimes Division directly at (954) 712-4600 or FTL.EC@myfloridalegal.com.
For this or any other case in which consumers suspect fraud, consumers can call the fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226 (toll-free within Florida).