Previously a reader had sent in a complaint about a debt relief group Damian Falcone & Company. You can read the consumer complaint here.
Well it turns out the consumer didn’t stop at submitting the complaint here but continued to push for satisfaction. Paul wrote in to say, “Well is a year later and I’m happy to say that because of Marie and her relentless pursuit to right the wrong that Damian Falcone was doing to herself and 87 other clients has been resolved. Marie was so instrumental in the case against Damian. We have won I’m attaching the official order from the NDML in Nevada. Thank you for your website and for you obviously in reporting and helping families all over the country.”
It does appear Damian Falcone, Falcon Credit Management LLC and Damian Falcone & Company met his match in Marie. The Department of Business & Industry in Nevada took action against the lot.
The Nevada regulators said, “Respondents created a Service Agreement that served as the contract between it and each of its clients. The Service Agreement stated that the client requested “Loss Mitigation, Financial, Credit and Debt Management services” from Respondents and agreed to pay the schedule of fees set forth in the Agreement. Among the terms of the
Agreement was a statement that Respondents would provide the client either a 4- or 6- month “membership to FalconDox software for the purpose of managing personal credit and debt.” For the software membership, the customer agreed to pay an amount ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 “upon the commencement of this agreement.” The software membership was presented as part and parcel of Respondents’ service package; it was not billed as optional. Once a client paid for the software membership, he or she was provided a link to sign in via email; the link expired if the client did not click on it within two days.
Falcone told Marie Del Graziano that the software was essentially a recordkeeping device. She was to upload all documents she received from her bank to the software, and the software would assess those documents for legal violations that could be used as leverage in Respondents’ negotiations with her bank. Ms. Del Graziano did upload the communications she received from her bank, nearly 100 documents in total. Ms. Del Graziano paid Respondents $6,000 for three 4-month subscriptions to the software.”
The Nevada department ruled, “Respondents violated NRS 645F.405 by charging and collecting advance fees from clients under the guise of software memberships before the clients executed written agreements with the lender or servicer incorporating an offer of mortgage assistance. Pursuant to NAC 645F.835(2), Respondents shall issue restitution to each of the 87 clients for whom financial ledgers were included in evidence. NRS 645F.410, authorizes the imposition of an administrative fine of up to $25,000 for this violation. Respondents shall be subject to an administrative fine in the amount of $15,000 for this violation because, though it was in circumvention of the spirit and purpose of the prohibition on advance fees, Respondents evidenced multiple consultations with multiple attorneys who approved of the practice, which suggests Respondents practiced some due diligence in endeavoring to abide by the law.”
This might be a great example that just because some debt relief attorney has said a business model is “good to go” does not mean it really is. It appears Falcone made efforts to make sure his approach was compliant but in the end, the opinion of a lawyer was not good insurance against the government agency for the State.