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United Financial Systems and Christopher Boulahanis Reach Settlement With Florida AG

United Financial Systems and Christopher Boulahanis Reach Settlement With Florida AG

This is actually a picture of the UFS building that a reader sent in previously.

The Florida Attorney General just made a big announcement concerning the non-profit credit counseling group United Financial Systems. This is a company that we first announced was likely to implode back in August of 2010.

Unfortunately the economic impact caused by United Financial Systems will linger and it will take time for consumer to hopefully get refunds. Refunds are hopeful but not guaranteed if the required installment payments are not made.

Background: United Financial Systems, Inc. was a Florida corporation that provided debt consolidation services to consumers nationwide. The company shut down operations as of December 2010. The Office of the Attorney General initiated an investigation in January 2011. In response to the Attorney General investigation, the company agreed to refund all consumers by August 31, 2011. The refunds were not timely made by the company, however, and the Attorney General pursued the investigation toward litigation. In December 2011, the Attorney General signed a settlement agreement with United Financial in which the company will pay the Attorney General the full amount due to the consumers in a series of monthly installments, and the Attorney General will distribute the funds to the defrauded consumers.

Announcement

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 January 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 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 [email protected]

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). – Source

Refund Questions and Answers

When will I receive my refund?

The settlement monies are scheduled to be distributed to the defrauded consumers by the Office of the Attorney General in two payments: a partial payment March 31, 2012, and a final pro rata payment September 30, 2012. The total of the payments may be less than the total amount of the loss.

What must I do to receive a refund?

All affected consumers must submit a sworn affidavit with documentation showing the amount of their loss postmarked by January 20, 2012. The form affidavit is available at the following website: www.myfloridalegal.com/UnitedFinancialSystems. If you were defrauded by United Financial Systems, you must submit an affidavit online or mail the affidavit postmarked by January 20, 2012 to the following address:

Office of the Attorney General Economic Crimes
Attn: United Financial Settlement Fund
110 SE 6th Street, 10th Floor
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33301

Will I receive a FULL refund of all my money?

The Office of the Attorney General expects to be able to provide 100% refunds, but cannot guarantee the amount of the refund until the full amount of the settlement is paid by the company and all the consumer affidavits are received and reviewed.

Why will it take until March 2012 and September 2012 to get paid?

The refunds are being paid by United Financial and its principal in a series of monthly installments, which are subject to strict enforcement procedures. Because United Financial is no longer in business, the ability of the company and its principal to repay all the amounts owed is limited to paying over a ten-month period of time. In order to maximize the recovery for all consumers affected by this company, the Office of the Attorney General has determined that the most effective method of obtaining full relief to all consumers defrauded is this ten-month payment plan.

Has the Office of the Attorney General received my affidavit?

If you previously submitted an affidavit in this matter, you do not have to do anything else. If you have not previously submitted an affidavit, you must submit a sworn affidavit postmarked by January 20, 2012.

Where do I mail my affidavit?

If you cannot complete the affidavit form online, you may mail the signed affidavit postmarked by January 20, 2012 to:

Office of the Attorney General Economic Crimes
Attn: United Financial Settlement Fund
110 SE 6th Street, 10th Floor
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 33301

I have a different question. Who do I ask?

This website will be routinely updated with relevant information. Alternately, you can obtain additional information by contacting the Economic Crimes Division directly at (954) 712-4600 or [email protected]Source

United Financial Systems and Christopher Boulahanis Reach Settlement With Florida AG
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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.
  • Leannie

    I live in Elizabeth City NC I received on #172.00 measly dollars and he still owes me and my husband $1108.00 dollars I am still waiting for the rest of my money that was due in Sept but got a letter from the attorney general office that it would be the end of november and now its Dec 1.

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      I would be surprised if you received any more. If you do, please let us know.

  • Jacimoose

    I just came across this article today 9/21/2012! I am owed aprox $1,000 can I still get my money?

  • Karenbryson

    karen   guess i do not understand why this guy is not in jail. this is a black and white case. we gave him money to pay off creditors and he did not. that is called a stealing any where in the united states except florida.  what did he do with the money.  sell his big house and big boats . we deserve some action now from the state of florida

    • Guest

      @ Karenbryson…I just received my 1st MEASELY refund 2 weeks ago for about $180…and I am owed a total of $1100!! Let’s hope for their sake I get the remaining $900+ in September.  
      As far as the whole jail talk goes…I talked with a rep for AG Bondi and unfortunately this a-hole will never see a prison.  Their direct words to me were “If he did go to prison, then he wouldn’t have to pay anyone a dime”!!  I told them, the people of FL pay Bondi’s salary to make sure creeps like him do not exist AND furthermore, to ensure she does her job to make stiffer penalties AND tougher laws to prevent this fraud from happening.  Sadly, states like FL and CA seem to have the highest number of these “businesses”, because of the many loopholes they find from AG’s not learning from the past. Did Boulahanis commit a federal crime by taking people’s money across state lines and misusing it?  Hell yes!! Will he get more than a slap on the wrist and continue his ways under different companies…most likely.  Is the AG of FL doing her job to the utmost to PROTECT the consumer? Doubt it, because this pattern never goes away!!
      I’ve learned not to hold my breath on getting 100% of my refund.  Will I get an attourney in October 2012 if I don’t get that $900+ owed to me that Boulahanis STOLE….more than likely.  And I’m sure the Dept of Justice in WI, as well as a few media outlets I’ve talked with, will help in the matters.  All WE can do is keep pushing the issue and put more pressure on the AG to do their job and better crack down on these aholes.
      Don’t give up!!! :)

  • Brad

    Can it be?!?! 2 years later & we just may see our refunds?! :)  So in the article from AG Bondi, it states “precludes the company and its representatives from engaging in credit counseling, debt management or debt consolidation in Florida.”  What I want to know is AG Bondi and her staff FULLY aware of all of his other consolidation companies he is affiliated with, as has been reported on this very website?!  And, if so, are those companies now shut down & prevented from operating?  THAT is the only way they can ensure Mr. Boulahanis cannot operate like this again.  
    I also find it a BIG disappointment that they came to an agreement, and he won’t be taken to court for any wrongdoing (ie taking other people’s money).  Be nice to see this guy have his house foreclosed, his boat & other assets seized, etc to ensure we are all paid off within 3 months & not some 10 month payment plan…not like we are all here graciously and patiently waiting our refunds! :)
    Your resources, info on here the last 2+ years have helped 100s!!! I hope those affected can move back to a somewhat normal lifestyle once these refunds are paid IN FULL.

    frustrated brad

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