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ABC Debt Relief, Best Debt Options, The Debt Answer, and Net Debt Help Review

This is an unusual review. I’m not quite sure what is going on here, but it is odd. This began with a tip from someone for me to look into TheDebtAnswer.com and what I found is interesting.

It seems TheDebtAnswer.com is hosted on the same server with these domains on it.

  • AAADebtRelief.com – Source
  • ABCDebtRelief.com – Source
  • BestDebtOptions.com – Source
  • BestOptionsBenefits.com – Source
  • BestRateOptions.com – Source
  • DebtConsolidationLawFirm.net – Source
  • Debthelp-Consolidation.com – Source
  • FastDebtConsolidation.com – Source
  • LawFirmDebtConsolidation.com – Source
  • NetDebtHelp.com – Source
  • TheDebtAnswer.com – Source

What makes this interesting is that some of the domains appear similar but have different lawyer names on them as the providers of debt settlement services.

Address:

Out of all of these companies, the one that appear to be the most identified is ABC Debt Relief.

12655 North Central Expressway
Suite 800
Dallas, TX 75243

Description:

A network of debt settlement sites.

Management

ABC Debt Relief Ltd Co is Lloyd Regner of 9330 Amberton Parkway #2322, Dallas, TX 75243. The company was registered on May 25, 2007. Lloyd Regner is the CEO of ABC Debt Relief. – Source

Lloyd Regner is the verifiable owner of DebtConsolidationLawFirm.net, BestOptionsBenefits.com, and LawFirmDebtConsolidation.com.

Contacts

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

Relationships

Lloyd Eugene Ward, Esq.
Lloyd Ward, Esq.
Ronald M Simon, Esq.
Ronald Simon, Esq.
David Otto, Esq.

Interesting Points

In my opinion it appears that ABC Debt Relief has created a number of debt settlement websites with the intention of sending these leads to different attorneys as identified above. It’s very hard for the average consumer to figure out who they are actually dealing with.

Take for example the web site LawFirmDebtConsolidation.com. The domain name is owned by Lloyd Regner but the site appears to be that of Lloyd Ward, Esq. It mentioned that it is an affiliate of the Nationwide Attorney Group but a web search for Nationwide Attorney Group revels no entity by that name. – Source. A call to the telephone number on the site, 888-200-3236 was answered by George who said it was actually ABC Debt Relief. Yet the address on the web site says it is 17120 Dallas Pkwy, Suite 235, Dallas, TX 75248-1144 which is the office of Lloyd Eugene Ward. – Source

So then I dialed the number on NetDebtHelp.com 800-899-9003 that says it is the site for David Otto, Esq and his debt settlement services and it was answered by the office of Lloyd Ward, Esq. I then dialed the number listed on the site for a free quote, 888-670-0101 and it was answered by an employee at ABC Debt Relief. – Source

On several of the sites that say they are lawyer debt settlement sites, like TheDebtAnswer.com, I saw the following statement on the FAQ page:

When should I consider bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is very serious and will stay with you for the rest of your life. Nothing is as damaging as Bankruptcy and the negative impact on your credit can be overwhelming. Bankruptcy is for consumers who are in serious financial hardship and for those that generally cannot even save minimal amounts to settle their obligations. – Source

That seems like an awful misleading statement to be made by the Law Office of Simon & Bocksch, David Otto & Affiliates, and Lloyd Ward & Associates. These lawyers either have their names on sites that say this or answer the telephone number for sites that say this.

If you do go bankrupt and some asks you’ll have to say ‘yes’, but so what? The statement that nothing is as damaging as bankruptcy is not true. Bankruptcy in fact would be less traumatic than going into a debt settlement program, having collectors still call you, have your credit trashed with late payments, get sued by creditors, and deal with the exceptionally high fees of debt settlement as compared with bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is not just for people that can’t save enough to settle their debts. It’s for people that might even be able to eventually save enough to pay high debt settlement fees and offer settlements to their creditors. Bankruptcy is actually a legal solution for financial situations when there is no expectation someone will be able to pay their debt as agreed and they want legal protections from creditors and a fresh start.

There is nothing on the FAQ page that talks about lawsuits while in debt settlement or the potential tax implications.

When you listen to the audio from some of these sites that plays as the site loads, like DebtConsolidationLawFirm.net it seems to give a very misleading impression of the services offered. It makes it sound like debt can be settled for just a few pennies on the dollar and that there is some money back guarantee offered, since they say it is the “strongest in the industry.” You also get the impression this site and lawyer have handled thousands of these cases. But there is no guarantee listed anywhere on the site.

In looking just at the ABDDebtRelief.com site I spotted the following glaring issues.

Once the debt has been paid in full on the settled amount, the creditor will issue a letter to the credit bureaus stating the debt has been “Paid”, “Settled”, and/or “Settled for less than full amount.” – Source

This makes it sound like settling the debts isn’t an issue but fails to mention that the amount of debt forgiven will be reported to the IRS and reported as a bad debt on your credit report.

The About Us page contains the same copy that some of the attorney sites do. Either the claims made by ABC Debt Relief are inaccurate or the claims made by the attorneys are inaccurate, they can’t both be true. – Source, Source, Source, Source.

Then you will be asked to make affordable, monthly deposits into your own bank account, to save the money to pay the settlements, and our fee. Settlements are typically paid out in a one lump sum payment once the total settlement amount has been accumulated.

Our very affordable fee is deducted from your bank account electronically. The savings portion stays in your account until the settlements are ready to be paid. – Source

They mention their “affordable fee” but fail to say how much it is. Also, they will deduct their fees from your bank account but it appears this will be before you have enough money to settle the debt. They don’t say how the fee will be paid. Will it be paid up front, before any settlements will be made, are refunds available if you change your mind and want out, etc?

The testimonial pages on these different sites are a lie, at least one is potentially true. The rest of the sites with testimonial pages are just copies of ABC Debt Relief testimonials. It is impossible that the attorney based sites can have the same testimonials as the ABC Debt Relief site. some of these sites are not telling the truth. – Source, Source, Source, Source.

Here is the bottom line for me. At the very least I have no clue which of these sites to trust. The lawyer sites appear to just be a cookie cutter approach to debt settlement and I take exception to the statements made on the sites. What I find exceptionally hard to believe is that these lawyers would jeopardize their law licenses and good names by offering debt settlement services under such dubious marketing and false statements like the obviously coped testimonials.

BBB Reviews & Ratings

Quite frankly I’m not even sure who to check on the rating of. There are just so many different players mixed up in this I’m not sure where to start.

Complaints

The State of New Hampshire cited Lloyd Regner and ABC Debt Relief for the following:

This Consent Order (hereinafter referred to as “Consent Order”) is entered between the New Hampshire Banking Department (“the Department”) and Respondent ABC Debt Relief, Ltd. Co. (“Respondent”). Respondent does hereby stipulate and agree to the following:

  1. The term “this matter” shall refer to Respondent’s alleged unlicensed debt adjustment activity in the State of New Hampshire from at least 2007.
  2. The Department is authorized by New Hampshire RSA 399-D:1 to regulate debt adjustment services performed in the State of New Hampshire or on behalf of a person located in the State of New Hampshire.
  3. RSA 399-D:19,IV authorizes the Department to investigate alleged violations of laws or rules or orders to determine whether any person has violated or is about to violate any provision of RSA Chapter 399-D, rule or order given under RSA Chapter 399-D or other applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
  4. RSA 399-D:22 authorizes the Department to perform examinations of Respondent’s debt adjustment business.
  5. Respondent acknowledges that RSA 399-D:2,IV(e) states the definition of debt adjustment includes a person engaging in the debt adjustment business including but not limited to
    acting upon outstanding debt adjustment contracts.

  6. Respondent acknowledges that RSA 399-D:3,I states that any person that, in its own name or on behalf of other persons, engages in the business of debt adjustment in New Hampshire or with New Hampshire consumers shall be required to obtain a
    license from the Department.

  7. Respondent acknowledges that RSA 399-D:3,III states that if a person, or a person’s members, officers, directors, agents, and employees, violates RSA 399-D:3,I, the debt adjustment contract shall be void and the person shall have no right to collect, receive, or retain any interest or charges whatsoever whether paid or received directly or indirectly. Any such direct or indirect compensation received by the person shall be refunded to the consumer.
  8. Respondent acknowledges that RSA 399-D:14,I states in part that “No licensee shall be entitled to any fee against the debtor, upon any contract, until the debt adjustment program is arranged and approved by the debtor.”
  9. This matter concerns at least seventy-six (76) New Hampshire consumers (“debtors”) whose fees Respondent shall refund pursuant to the Department’s initial investigation of this matter.
  10. The Department and Respondent would like to avoid formal proceedings, and further expense, and to finally resolve this matter under the terms and conditions set forth below.
  11. The terms of this Consent Order are a fair and reasonable disposition of this matter and are in the public interest.

Source

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.

Update: July 9, 2010

Today, through their agent, ABC Debt Relief had this server shutdown for three hours because of a DMCA notice they sent to my hosting provider regarding this article.

In my opinion it was a low blow and a cheap trick to prevent this article from being read by the public.

The letter claimed that ABC Debt Relief is a trademarked name and thus could not be used in the article. A search of the U.S. Patent and Trademark office could not locate any such registered trademark.

Additionally, the use of the name falls under the fair use provisions of both the copyright and trademark laws as used in the context of the article.

They also objected to the screenshots I had of the front pages of the various web sites claiming they were a similar violation. However, those images also fall under the same fair use laws for journalists.

The move by ABC Debt Relief and related parties and sites should make you wonder what the real purpose was. Interestingly, they did not state that any of the facts presented above were false or incorrect.

Here is what happens when people file a frivolous DMCA notice.

http://www.youtube.com/v/i76PEIdtJm8

http://www.youtube.com/v/T_MYyc-PtH4

ABC Debt Relief, Best Debt Options, The Debt Answer, and Net Debt Help Review by

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
  • Boowah

    I signed with ABC in 2009. I have paid them over $5000.00. They settled one account. I have settled the rest myself. I have only one crdit card debt left in garnishment, which is hell trying to get the law firm to take a lump sum. I was better off not calling ABC from the beginning. They helped ruin my credit even more.

  • Starrcap

    My husband signed with ABC at the end of 2007. He was deploying to Iraq and wanted to settle his CC debt while overseas with no living expenses. ABC debited his account $2, 750 for 3 months. The first settlement came about 6 months later. They only managed to settle about 40% of his debt, stopped contacting him, wouldn’t return his calls when he returned from his deployment in 2009 and now we are once again getting calls from a creditor. ABC had told my husband this particular company had gone out of business and they could not find who bought the debt. After receiving the call from the CA, I googled the original creditor and found what I was looking for in 2 mins. His credit is now completely shot (worse than before) and it looks like bankruptcy might now be the only option to fix the mess they left him in with the bad advice. I will add though that it is 80% his fault for not doing his due diligence but at the time they were just starting out and he really wanted to pay off the debt he had incurred. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to settle the debt and I can’t see how entering into a payment plan is going to be any better.

    I have tried contacting them for a copy of his file but I keep getting the runaround. His credit report is a mess. The creditors did not update his report with Paid/Settled as they advise on their website and in their terms. It is left up to us to try and do it. We are now speaking with an attorney who is following up with my request for his file, I am filing complaints with the AG in NY and Tx because we are now way past being able to settle this debt. It has changed hands so many times and it has more than tripled. Any advice or tips would also be greatly appreciated.

    To anyone considering this, be aware that what they do you can do yourself.

  • Starrcap

    My husband signed with ABC at the end of 2007. He was deploying to Iraq and wanted to settle his CC debt while overseas with no living expenses. ABC debited his account $2, 750 for 3 months. The first settlement came about 6 months later. They only managed to settle about 40% of his debt, stopped contacting him, wouldn’t return his calls when he returned from his deployment in 2009 and now we are once again getting calls from a creditor. ABC had told my husband this particular company had gone out of business and they could not find who bought the debt. After receiving the call from the CA, I googled the original creditor and found what I was looking for in 2 mins. His credit is now completely shot (worse than before) and it looks like bankruptcy might now be the only option to fix the mess they left him in with the bad advice. I will add though that it is 80% his fault for not doing his due diligence but at the time they were just starting out and he really wanted to pay off the debt he had incurred. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to settle the debt and I can’t see how entering into a payment plan is going to be any better.

    I have tried contacting them for a copy of his file but I keep getting the runaround. His credit report is a mess. The creditors did not update his report with Paid/Settled as they advise on their website and in their terms. It is left up to us to try and do it. We are now speaking with an attorney who is following up with my request for his file, I am filing complaints with the AG in NY and Tx because we are now way past being able to settle this debt. It has changed hands so many times and it has more than tripled. Any advice or tips would also be greatly appreciated.

    To anyone considering this, be aware that what they do you can do yourself.

  • nellen

    I also am talking with Money Management International, a non-profit. When I called each of my creditors to discuss reducing my debt, they each put me on the MMI as the program of choice. They have discussed a time frame of 4 years to pay off all my debt. The same time frame as LLoyd Ward, but they are not charging any ridiculous upfront fees. I am seriously considering MMI.

  • nellen

    You are so right. What you have explained is exactly what I have found. I paid the first two months and then decided that this was not going to work after the incessant calls from the CC companies and debt collectors. I tried getting NoteWorld to refund my money and close the account. In their TERMS AND CONDITIONS they say you can request your account be closed and a refund, but that is not true. They closed my account but have refused to credit my bank account for the 2 months. Well, I have since filed complaints with the Attorney General’s office, The Federal Trade Commission, the BBB and getting ready to file with the Bar Association, against both LLoyd Ward and Associates and NoteWorld. I also plan to get in touch with my local TV station. I am going to use every means necessary to get my money refunded. Furthermore, I read somewhere where there was some ruling this past May that no debt settlement companies can charge upfront fees until the end when the consumer’s debts are paid. But it seems that LLoyd Ward has ignored that ruling. How they can be allowed to prey on the consumer and get away with it is my question.

  • Vinny

    I’ve looked at all of the options for me (or at least as many as I can find). I worked with the folks at Money Management International and found that they really could not offer me any significant relief. From my examination of the debt settlement racket, that option seems to cause the most damage for the longest. With a debt management program, all of the CC’s agree to not report you as behind,etc. With Debt management, there is no agreement until enough funds have accumulated in the account to then offer a settlement. If you aren’t insolvent, you will likely pay income tax on the “forgiven” amount.

    It looks like for me, bankruptcy is probably my only avenue. Part of that decision is because I already have one creditor who is acting very aggressively. I hate that it has come to this, but I have to take action to preserve the sanity in my household (or at least the sanity any of us have left.)

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Vinny,

      Sounds logical and reasonable.

      Steve

    • nellen

      I also am talking with Money Management International, a non-profit. When I called each of my creditors to discuss reducing my debt, they each put me on the MMI as the program of choice. They have discussed a time frame of 4 years to pay off all my debt. The same time frame as LLoyd Ward, but they are not charging any ridiculous upfront fees. I am seriously considering MMI.

  • http://bestdeptsolution.com Meyvin Ramos

    i would like to know if this is a trusted website bestdebtsolution.com… i called to ask how it works, and they told me they would garantee to cut by debt by 60%, but i had to pay them the first 3 payments of $423 and than keep paying them the 15%. i was enrolled in a debt solution program called incharge debt solutions, but i called and cancelled that today because i was thinking about enrolling with best debt solotions (Lloyd Ward attorney) im not sure wich way to go… any ideas??? the payment with incharge would be $600 and with Debt solutions it is $423… do you have any suggestions??

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      There is a real possibility that most debt settlement companies will be out of business shortly if the proposed Debt Settlement Consumer Protection Act passes. The better path is to go with a debt management plan from a non-profit credit counseling group at this point.

      Steve

  • bruce

    did you ever get a good comment

  • Jane

    I signed up with the program with Lloyd Ward, then I cancelled before they could begin withdrawals. The guy that I talked to took the total of my debt, cut the amount in half (saying they would at least settle for that amount) and then divided it by 60 (5 years of 12 months, which is how long they give you to pay them to save your money and settle your debt). Then he added $45 for maintenance fee/escrow processing to the above amount to get my monthly payment to them. They would keep 1/3 of the amount before the $45 was added for an administrative fee and the other 2/3 would be put in a trust account to be accumulated and paid to the creditors. This trust was to be handled by NoteWorld Servicing Center, PO Box 2236, Tacoma WA 98401.
    However, they don’t really do anything that you can’t do yourself. I thought they would settle my debts and then I would pay them back. Not so. They just wait until enough money is in your trust account to pay the creditor for a settlement amount. Meanwhile, the creditors will still call and late fees and interest will still accrue because the accounts are not settled. The guy even told me that I might want to have my phone number changed to avoid the creditors and he gave me a statement and phone number to give them to “contact my law firm”. Accounts can still be turned over to collection agencies and you can even be sued. There are no guarantees of anything by the settlement company: “LWG makes no predictions, promises, or representations as to the outcomeofits services or the time that it may take to reduce or eliminate Clint’s Debts and results may vary according to Client’s unique situation.” They do not take any responsibility regarding your credit report or credit score. In my opinion, you would do better to negotiate with your creditors yourself and put the money to better use paying down your debt. Why pay them to save your money? It really does not make sense.

    • nellen

      You are so right. What you have explained is exactly what I have found. I paid the first two months and then decided that this was not going to work after the incessant calls from the CC companies and debt collectors. I tried getting NoteWorld to refund my money and close the account. In their TERMS AND CONDITIONS they say you can request your account be closed and a refund, but that is not true. They closed my account but have refused to credit my bank account for the 2 months. Well, I have since filed complaints with the Attorney General’s office, The Federal Trade Commission, the BBB and getting ready to file with the Bar Association, against both LLoyd Ward and Associates and NoteWorld. I also plan to get in touch with my local TV station. I am going to use every means necessary to get my money refunded. Furthermore, I read somewhere where there was some ruling this past May that no debt settlement companies can charge upfront fees until the end when the consumer’s debts are paid. But it seems that LLoyd Ward has ignored that ruling. How they can be allowed to prey on the consumer and get away with it is my question.

  • doogles

    i’m currently enrolled in thedebtanswer program and honestly, i’m in a much worse situation than when i first initially started with the company. my credit has gone down and now the banks have sent my accounts to debt collection agencies. if i decide to leave, then i will have gained nothing and end up paying all the late fees and interest. if i stay, i get lidigated. i don’t know what to do. i don’t have the money to pay the settlement fees.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Doogles,

      I’m sorry to say it is a fate experienced by people the enroll in similar programs. The way you prevent lawsuits, stop additional fees, and stop collections is with bankruptcy. Please find a local bankruptcy attorney and go talk to them ASAP.

      Steve

  • vinnyw

    Can I just send it to the e-mail address on the confidential tip page??

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Yes. Sorry, at movies.

      Steve

  • vinnyw

    I entered some benign info on a similar website to the ones you mentioned…about 20 minutes later, someone from Lloyd Ward and Associates calls me. Eventually, he sent me a link to a web page with a fairly lengthy and detailed legal agreement. I owe almost $70K to various CC companies; their fees (which totaled over $10K – almost 15% – are paid out of the monthy payment – 100% of the first 3 payments go entirely to LW&A and after the first 3, a pro-rated amount goes toward the account that is set up to then pay off negotiated obligations for the next 3 months or so.

    This seems like a very large sum of money to do what they are saying that they will do. What should a reasonable negotiator’s fee be??

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Can you post the link so I can look at the agreement?

      Steve

      • vinnyw

        It seems to have an auto-login asociated with it, plus it has some of my personal info on it. I’d just rather not have a live link to this information posted on an open forum like this… I printed it out to an adobe file…I can e-mail that to you, I suppose… I don’t have adobe pro here, so I can’t edit out my information…

        They are going by the handle silverleafdebt.com, too…

        vinny

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Vinny,

        I just sent you an email so you could forward it to me.

        Steve

      • vinnyw

        I just checked my spam filter and didn’t find your message…it didn’t end up in my inbox either…

        Vinny

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Vinny,

        It bounced. I’ll resend it again latter.

        Steve

  • after futher looking

    Poor homework. Sounds like a competitor trying to discredit.
    Not sure where the confusion is on the BBB… there is NO SUCH owner as they have listed. It’s listed clearly on the “Texas Secrectary of State” as follows:

    Lloyd Regner 9330 Amberton Pkwy., Ste. 2322
    Dallas, TX 75243 USA
    Filing Number: 800823517 Entity Type: Domestic Limited Liability Company (LLC)
    Original Date of Filing: May 31, 2007 Entity Status: In existence
    Formation Date: N/A
    Tax ID: 32033056113 FEIN:
    Duration: Perpetual

    Name: The Debt Answer, LLC
    Address: 9330 AMBERTON PKWY STE 2322
    DALLAS, TX 752432137 USA

    REGISTERED AGENT FILING HISTORY NAMES MANAGEMENT ASSUMED NAMES ASSOCIATED ENTITIES

    Name Address Inactive Date
    Lloyd Regner 9330 Amberton Pkwy., Ste. 2322
    Dallas, TX 75243 USA

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Not sure what point you are trying to get across. I did say that Lloyd Regner was involved. At the time of my review TheDebtAnswer.com was used to promote the services of Ronald Simon.

      Steve

      • Concerned Citizen

        Steve,

        How do you go about shutting these types of places down and stop allowing people to get drawn in? I was about to sign up with one but that looks slim now I’ve read this. Thanks!

      • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

        Dear Concerned Citizen,

        I can’t get a place shut down, only victims can. The way they can is by filing complaints with their local state consumer agencies, Attorney General or file suit individually.

        In the debt world there are no shortage of people that would be happy to take your money and provide you with little or no service. in fact some companies intentionally provide poor service in hopes their customers that have paid them fees will go away.

        If you have a specific concern about a particular debt help company, feel free to share it. The more that comes to light the more people can be helped avoid what would have otherwise been a mistake.

        Steve

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Just an FYI, I have received a document signed by Kevin Devoto as owner of ABC Debt Relief so it appears that Kevin Devoto is involved.

  • http://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/34-47736.htm Who Knows

    The other owner Kevin Devoto which if you type in his name on Google you will find all kinds of interesting things about this man (Felonies). Such as the debt answer on the BBB has his wife’s Amy Devoto is the principal owner. Also you will notice that before they started this company they did the same this with a company called USA Card Services. Read Below:

    UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
    Before The
    SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
    SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
    Release No. 47736 / April 25, 2003

    ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDING
    File No. 3-11093

    In the Matter of

    KEVIN M. DEVOTO,

    Respondent.

    :
    :
    :
    :
    :
    :
    ORDER INSTITUTING PUBLIC ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS PURSUANT TO SECTION 15(b) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934, MAKING FINDINGS AND BARRING FROM ASSOCIATION WITH A BROKER OR DEALER

    I.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) deems it appropriate and in the public interest that public administrative proceedings be instituted pursuant to Section 15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) with respect to Kevin M. Devoto (“Devoto”).

    In anticipation of these proceedings, Devoto has submitted an Offer of Settlement (“Offer”), which the Commission has determined to accept. Solely for the purpose of these proceedings and any other proceedings brought by or on behalf of the Commission, or to which the Commission is a party, and without admitting or denying the findings herein, except as to the jurisdiction of the Commission over him and the subject matter of these proceedings and the findings contained in Section III, below, which are admitted, Devoto consents to the entry of this Order Instituting Public Administrative Proceedings Pursuant to Section 15(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Making Findings and Barring from Association with A Broker or Dealer (“Order”).

    II.

    Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that a public administrative proceeding be, and herby is, instituted against Devoto pursuant to Section 15(b) of the Exchange Act.

    III.

    On the basis of this Order and the Offer submitted by Devoto, the Commission finds that:

    1. Devoto made use of the mails and other means and instrumentalities of interstate commerce in connection with his business as a broker-dealer;

    2. on September 13, 2002, in United States v. Richard T. Taylor, et al., Case No. 3:02-CR-0037-M, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas entered a judgment of conviction against Devoto based on his plea of guilty to a charge of misprision of a felony by Richard T. Taylor, i.e., securities fraud; and

    3. on April 9, 2003, in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Richard T. Taylor, et al., Case No. 3:01-CV-2683-M, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas entered a final judgment permanently enjoining Devoto from violating Sections 5(a) and 5(c) of the Securities Act and Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act.

    IV.

    In view of the foregoing, the Commission deems it appropriate and in the public interest to impose the sanctions specified in Devoto’s Offer of Settlement.

    Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Devoto be, and hereby is, barred from association with any broker or dealer.

    By the Commission.

    Jonathan G. Katz
    Secretary

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