13 Union Place
Huntington, NY 11743
More information is needed about this organization and its activities. If you are an employee or have inside knowledge, please confidentially contact me at [email protected].
The mission of First Option Debt Solutions is to provide you with quality referrals to companies that can assist you in improving your finances and creating a disciplined plan to achieve financial security. We can help you find the best debt consolidation company for your needs.
Our referral service has relationships with companies that not only offer the financial services that you are looking for, but also share the same values, ethics and commitment to professional excellence that we do. If you are plagued with debt and credit card bills, consolidations or debt negotiations through one of our affiliates could be the answer to your problems. – Source
They appear to be a lead generating company with emphasis on loan modification and debt settlement.
Here is what I’ve been told regarding the management of First Option Debt Solutions:
I am told this company is actually controlled by John Puccio and Richard Puccio.
Robert Schwartz, owns the domain name.
It is alleged that First Option Debt Solutions is the new organization controlled by John Puccio and Richard Puccio of the old Brighton Credit Corporation of Massachusetts enterprise that was closed down and left the brothers with a $256,537.00 dollar judgment to pay as a result of their activities of defrauding consumers.
This judgment against the Puccios’ permanently bars them from participating in any way in the ownership, management or operations of any debt management, debt settlement, credit or debt counseling entity. – Source
John Puccio and Richard Puccio have a notorious reputation in the credit counseling world. Having managed to be one of three credit counseling enterprises to be singled out as the worst offenders in a report issued by the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in a report title “Profiteering in a Non-Profit Industry: Abusive Practices in Credit Counseling.” One other was Ameridebt under the control of Andris Pukke.
The report says:
The third case study examines the Cambridge-Brighton conglomerate, a complex web of interrelated non-profit and for-profit entities with overlapping directorates and ownership. The Subcommittee’s investigation has determined that the operations of the Cambridge-Brighton conglomerate were completely integrated and controlled by brothers John and Richard Puccio. Brighton Debt Management Services, Ltd. (‘‘Brighton DMS’’) provided DMP processing services to three CCAs: (1) Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp., a non-profit CCA based in Massachusetts; (2) Brighton Credit Management Corp., a for-profit CCA based in Florida; and (3) Cambridge/Brighton Budget Planning Corp., a CCA based in New York with a pending application for Section 501(c)(3) status. Debt Relief Clearinghouse Ltd. was the for-profit marketing arm for the conglomerate, and Cypress Advertising & Promotions, Inc. (‘‘Cypress’’) provided advertising services.110 Brighton DMS processed DMP accounts amounting to approximately $900 million of consumer debt.
Formation of the Cambridge-Brighton Conglomerate
The Cambridge-Brighton conglomerate was originally organized by John and Richard Puccio as a for-profit enterprise. Two entities—Cambridge Credit Corporation (‘‘Cambridge Credit’’) and Brighton Credit Corporation (‘‘Brighton Credit’’)—were incorporated on April 20, 1993 and October 28, 1993, respectively, as for-profit corporations in New York. The two entities operated out of the same location. Cambridge Credit performed the DMP enrollment function while Brighton Credit performed the DMP processing services. In 1996, after operating for approximately 3 years, the New York Banking Department served a cease and desist order prohibiting the two entities from performing credit counseling services in New York because they were for-profit organizations.
The Puccio brothers moved their principal operations to Massachusetts where they formed several new corporations, including Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp. (‘‘Cambridge’’) and Brighton Credit Corporation of Massachusetts (‘‘Brighton Mass.’’), later known as Brighton Debt Management Services (‘‘Brighton DMS”). As was the case in New York, one entity—Cambridge—was organized to perform the DMP enrollment function while a for profit entity—Brighton Mass.—was organized to perform the DMP processing and to lease equipment, personnel, software, and provide ‘‘other services’’ to Cambridge. Cambridge applied for Section 501(c)(3) status, which was granted by the IRS on February 12, 1998. In terms of aggregate debt, Cambridge is currently the largest CCA in the Cambridge-Brighton conglomerate.
Despite the cease and desist order from the New York Banking Department, John and Richard Puccio incorporated another New York entity—the non-profit Cambridge/Brighton Budget Planning Corporation (‘‘Cambridge/Brighton’’)—on December 6, 1996. Cambridge/Brighton operated in the same space previously occupied by Cambridge Credit and Brighton Credit. Like Cambridge, Cambridge/Brighton was under contract with Brighton DMS for all processing services associated with its DMP portfolio. A third CCA was organized as a for-profit corporation in Florida—Brighton Credit Management Corp. (‘‘Brighton Credit Management’’). Like Cambridge and Cambridge/Brighton, Brighton Credit Management outsourced all of its DMP processing services to Brighton DMS.
In addition, the Puccio brothers created two other wholly-owned and controlled, for-profit entities that conducted business with the three Cambridge-Brighton CCAs. On July 17, 1996, Cypress Advertising & Promotions, Inc. was created by the Puccios to ‘‘procure advertising space/time’’ for the Cambridge-Brighton CCAs. On January 27, 2000, another for-profit company named Debt Relief Clearinghouse, Ltd. (‘‘Debt Relief’’) was created by the Puccios to ‘‘produce television infomercials’’ and operate a call center to screen calls for the Cambridge-Brighton CCAs.120 Both Cypress and Debt Relief operated from the same location as Cambridge/Brighton in New York. Each of the Cambridge-Brighton CCAs paid Debt Relief and Cypress for their services. In sum, although credit counseling is supposedly a ‘‘non-profit’’ industry, only two entities within the Cambridge-Brighton conglomerate were organized as non-profits. All of the revenue realized by the conglomerate was generated by consumers who enrolled in DMPs. – Source: PROFITEERING IN A NON-PROFIT INDUSTRY: ABUSIVE PRACTICES IN CREDIT COUNSELING
Their current promotional video for First Option Debt Solutions below mentions a cash back opportunity, this is much the same the Puccio’s promised with their last operation that was closed down.
Picture of Web Site
Update: May 7, 2010
A lawyer representing First Option sent me a nastygram about this post. It’s one of those remove it or else letters. Interestingly, the letter did nothing to clear up the management question I had raised from a tipster (send in your tips here).
The letter says “Be advised that other than the name of my client company none of your “facts” are true or applicable to First Option.” What seems unbelievable to me is that apparently the lawyer is saying this his client, First Option, is misrepresenting themselves since the web address, picture of their site, description from their site, address, and video either come from official records or First Option directly.
I suppose First Option is upset about the alleged relationship I wrote about with the Puccio’s, but it is only a tip and allegation and my facts on the Puccio’s were from a Senate Subcommittee. The lawyer did not specifically say this specific fact was incorrect or who the management of First Option Debt Solutions is.
The lawyer also wants me to publish a retraction that the facts I sourced from the State of New York, First Option Debt Solutions web site, WHOIS domain database, their own web address, and the First Option commercial are “in error and obtained from unreliable sources.” Really? Unreliable?
And as far as the comment about Dominick Salzone not being associated with First Option, a comment below noted that his name had been associated in Newsday with them. I did find the following advertisement in Newsday from January, 2010 that lists Dominick’s name at the address for First Option and interestingly, the telephone number in the ad is the same one used by the attorney that sent me the letter.
I did find it interesting that the letter sent to me came from an attorney that claims “Our Mission is to provide the American Consumer with excellence in Debt Management Services through many different ways. We strive to be the best through our credit counselors to provide education, customer satisfaction, and a budget program that allow you the consumer to be debt free in a timely manner; and to assist the unsecured financial industry with collecting on consumer debt owed to them due to delinquent or over-extended accounts that might otherwise be lost to bankruptcy.” – Source
So Dominick Salzone claims by his comment to not be affiliated with First Option/DMP Services but publishes an advertisement in Newsday listing the address for First Option/DMP Services and a telephone number that goes to the attorney that sent me the letter and the attorney the letter came from is involved in debt management services. Intriguing.
The telephone number that Dominick Salzone listed in his Newsday advertisement came back to DMP Services Corporation at the same address as First Option. – Source. That source listed the website for DMP Services.
The dmpservicesonline.com site listed as the DMP Services site shows this page.
IMS Online is the company that owns the First Option domain name.
IMS Online Web Inc.
P.O. Box 1665
Huntington, NY 11743
Domain name: FIRSTOPTIONDEBT.COM
Schwartz, Robert [email protected]
P.O. Box 1665
Huntington, NY 11743
My opinion is that First Option is probably referring clients to DMP Services at the same address since First Option labels themselves a referral group. “The mission of First Option Debt Solutions is to provide you with quality referrals to companies that can assist you in improving your finances and creating a disciplined plan to achieve financial security.” – Source
I called First Option and said I had been referred from them to DMP Services and needed the phone number again of DMP services that they had referred me to and Patrick was able to give it to me. Maybe Patrick was just being helpful and went and looked up the number quickly, or maybe he had it right at hand.
Is This Your Company?
If this is a review is about your company and you would like to respond to the information I’ve presented here to possibly put it into a broader context or make a correction, please feel free to post your response in the comments section below. I invite you to read my Debt Relief Company and Site Review Policy first.First Option Debt Solutions Review by Steve Rhode