Debt Settlement

Is the Settlement Program Through Heartland Legal Group a Scam?

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Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

I have 24K in credit card debt. I signed up for a debt settlement plan through Heartland Legal Group 4 months ago. I am making monthly payments to them, and they agreed that my debt would be settled in 7-9 months.

My question is whether or not I am being scammed. Should I request my money back and get out of the program? I am very nervous, as I am a single mom and do not have a lot of expendable cash. It seemed legit, given that a notary came to my home and everything, but I’m not sure.

Julie

Answer:

Dear Julie,

Questions of a company being a scam or legit are always difficult because those terms can mean different things to different people.

Without doing some research, it appears the first time I heard about Heartland Legal Group was in this post.

That post was about a lawsuit filed that claimed many entities were formed for a specific reason. The complaint said, “The enterprise further defrauds consumers by posing as lawyers and law firms and by enlisting real lawyers and law firms to provide their names for the scheme even though they do not—and generally, cannot—perform legal services themselves in Florida where the consumers reside.”

Researching Heartland Legal Group

According to the Heartland Legal Group website, they are “a law firm.”

The website states the company is located at 41000 Woodward Avenue, Ste. 350, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304. It appears to be a virtual office space.

According to the State of Michigan, the name Heartland Legal Group is an assumed name for Henry Legal Group. This entity’s registered mailing address is 211 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 900B, Chicago, IL 60606.

The resident agent for the company is Sequara Henry. – Source

According to the State Bar of Michigan, Sequara Henry was admitted on June 12, 2003, and is licensed to practice law in Michigan.

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If you don’t live in Michigan, you would need to verify who the lawyer is representing you since only a lawyer licensed in your state can give you legal advice.

Interestingly enough, the website of Sequara Henry does not appear to mention settlement. It does say, “We help people file for bankruptcy under the US Bankruptcy Code.” It also says the legal focus is in “Identity Theft, Stop Debt Collectors, Creditor Lawsuits, TCPA. FRCA, FDCPA, Litigation, Criminal Defense, Real Estate & Divorce.”

It does not arrear the Heartland Legal Group terms and conditions page mentions settling consumer debt either.

Puzzling – Henry Legal Group

One little nagging bit of information that does not make complete sense to me is why attorney Sequara Henry has his office at 26677 West 12 Mile Road, Southfield, Michigan 48034. Still, Henry Legal Group AKA Heartland Legal Group says it is located at a different virtual Regus address. The mailing address of the registered office with the State is in Chicago.

I’m not saying that makes the company a scam. But I am saying that it is worth contacting the company and getting a satisfactory answer to explain. Why isn’t Henry Legal Group at the same virtual address for attorney Henry?

Henry Legal Group, LLP, was registered in Michigan on September 18, 2019, and is registered in Southfield, MI.

So Here Are My Concerns

Again, these are not signs of a company not being legitimate or a scam. They are just questions I’d want clear answers to:

  1. Where is the Henry Legal Group staff physically located?
  2. Why does the State of Michigan say Henry Legal Group, PLLC is Heartland Legal Group, but the registered office is in Chicago?
  3. If you do not live in Michigan, who is the licensed attorney in your state that is actually handling your case?
  4. Why are your debts not settled in the 7-9 months that you were told?
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It is healthy to ask your questions to the company you’ve hired to deal with your debt for you. You should feel comfortable and confident that you understand exactly what is going on.

You might also want to ask them why they did not just suggest a Chapter 7 bankruptcy that would eliminate your debt in about 90 days for less than $2,000 in fees. Given your situation, that seems like a solution that was worth exploring since cash is limited.

I would recommend that anyone considering using such a company should read the following free guides.

  1. The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Checking Out a Debt Relief Company Before You Sign On the Line
  2. 10 Must Do Steps to Find the Best Counseling or Settlement Company for You
  3. How to Check Out a Business or Company to Avoid Getting Scammed or Ripped Off


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About the author

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.

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