Get Out of Debt Guy - Steve Rhode

Dave Burke, Erik Sale, Real Talk Network and Institute of Consumer Economic Education All Sued and Hit With TRO by Attorney General of Colorado

1-844-335-1967

In January, 2010 I wrote and published Investigative Report: Dave Burke and Real Talk Network (Real Talk Network, Inc.). Is It a Scam? where I had some real reservations about a debt relief operation operating out of Colorado.

My initial concerns came after a reader sent in a question that he went to a get out of debt seminar and wound up in collections. I didn’t think that was possible at first, but it was.

My initial article led to a cease & desist letter from Burke’s attorney and threats that I must remove the factual information I had published about his operation that I felt was taking advantage of consumers. I didn’t back down.

Along the way I played a behind the scenes part in helping some reporters put together some additional investigative reports and a couple of investigative television reports also appeared about his operation.

Just in the past few days I had also reported how Burke was making his move and opening a new operation called the Institute of Consumer Economic Education.

But as of today, the entire operation has been shut down by a temporary restraining order.

Attorney General of Colorado Goes After Burke

Here is the release from the AG in Colorado:

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that his office has filed a lawsuit against a Westminster-based company, Real Talk Network, and its corporate officers, David Allen Burke (DOB: 9/6/1967) and Erik Sale (DOB: 11/26/1973), on suspicion that they engaged in false and deceptive trade practices and violated Colorado’s consumer credit laws.

“The down economy has left many consumers looking for a way to get out of debt,” Suthers said. “The defendants in this case are suspected of using deceptive sales pitches to bilk consumers out of thousands of dollars for services they ultimately never received. At its core, this scam preyed on consumers’ desires for a silver bullet to get out of debt.”

According to the complaint, Real Talk Network ran infomercials on talk radio stations in Colorado and California, including on Denver stations 630 AM KHOW and 94.7 FM KRKS. The infomercials ran in Adams, Arapahoe, Clear Creek, Elbert, Denver, Jefferson, Larimer, Lincoln, Park, Summit and Weld counties in Colorado. During the infomercials, Real Talk Network and its officers are suspected of telling consumers that they can get out of debt in short period of time, pay off their mortgages in less than 10 years and “explode” their credit scores by following the company’s program. Real Talk Network also is suspected of advertising a 100 percent success rate for participants. According to the complaint, consumers are advised to attend a “free” three-hour seminar to learn more about the company’s program.

Real Talk Network and its officers are suspected of telling consumers at the seminars that they will be able to work with the company to:

At the end of the “free” seminar, according to the lawsuit, Real Talk Network representatives pressured consumers to sign up for their services and to pay from $1,497 to $3,497. According to the complaint, consumers who pay the fee or sign up for a monthly payment plan report receiving little to no assistance from financial advisers who have no financial training or experience. Real Talk Network’s purported “special relationships” with various banks did not exist.

Burke also is suspected of misrepresenting his credentials and not disclosing information about his financial history that might have changed consumers minds about the seminars. For example, Burke misled consumers to believe he was a graduate of the University of Southern California and did not disclose that he had filed for bankruptcy in 2000 and 2007.

Consumers who quit the program or declined to pay once they became aware of the lack of services Real Talk Network provided had their accounts handed off to a collection agency.

“Although we and our partners warn that Colorado consumers should always beware deals that sound too good to be true, companies should not prey on consumers’ desperation or fears after going into debt or falling behind on their bills,” Suthers said. “This case underlines my office’s commitment to ensuring that businesses operate on a level playing field and do not victimize consumers.”

Consumers who believe they have been defrauded by a business can file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General via www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/complaint, 1-800-222-4444 or stop.fraud@state.co.us.

Colorado Obtains a Temporary Restraining Order and Shuts Down Operations and Freezes All Funds

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff requests that this Court enter a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction that:

A. Enjoins Defendants and their officers, directors, agents, servants, employees, independent contractors and any other persons in active concert or participation with Defendants who receive actual notice of the Court’s order including, but not limited to, Melodie Rose Burke, Freedom Financial Partners, LLC and Reality Financial, LLC, from:

  1. Soliciting or accepting payment for services of any kind in connection with REAL TALK NETWORK, INC., d/b/a REAL TALK NETWORK and GET REAL WITH DAVE, REAL TALK, LLC, REAL TALK RADIO SHOW NETWORK, LLC, and INSTITUTE OF CONSUMER ECONOMIC EDUCATION, LLC (collectively, “RTN”), or any other company or person relating to debt elimination, debt management, debt settlement, debt counseling, wealth-building or credit repair services or products offered or provided to consumers;
  2. Advertising, selling, marketing, displaying, offering or performing debt elimination, debt management, debt settlement, debt counseling, wealth-building or credit repair services or products offered or provided to consumers;
  3. Publishing, broadcasting, distributing or disseminating any information, including written, oral, or video, relating to debt elimination, debt management, debt settlement, debt counseling, wealth-building or credit repair services or products offered or provided to consumers;
  4. Performing, supervising, or otherwise participating in debt elimination, debt management, debt settlement, debt counseling, wealth-building or credit repair services or products offered or provided to consumers; and
  5. Referring any consumer who has signed a contract for the RTN program to a collections agency.

B. Requires Defendants and their officers, directors, agents, servants, employees, independent contractors and any other persons in active concert or participation with Defendants who receive actual notice of the Court’s order including, but not limited to, Melodie Rose Burke, Freedom Financial Partners, LLC and Reality Financial, LLC, to:

  1. Deactivate within forty-eight(48)hoursoftheOrderallInternetsites,domain names, URL addresses, registrations, and any other forms or materials that advertise, market or solicit any business relating to debt elimination, debt management, debt settlement, debt counseling, wealth-building or credit repair services including, but not limited to, www.gortn.com and www.iceellc.com ;
  2. Within five calendar days of the entry of the Order, withdraw from collections any and all consumer accounts that Defendants had previously referred to a collections agency;
    Notify all current clients of the Order in writing by e-mail sent no later than July 9, 2010, and United States mail, first-class postage prepaid, postmarked no later than July 9, 2010, attaching and enclosing the Order and a letter from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office to notify each client that RTN has ceased operations; and
  3. Provide a status report and certification to the Court by July 12, 2010 that Defendants have complied with the foregoing (1) through (4).

C. In view of Defendants’ fraudulent and deceptive practices perpetrated in and outside Colorado, it is necessary and appropriate for the Court to freeze any bank accounts of Defendants into which consumer funds have been deposited or transferred. Thus, it is necessary and appropriate that Defendants and their officers, managers, supervisors, directors, independent contractors and any other persons in active concert or participation with Defendants who receive actual notice of the Court’s order including, but not limited to, Melodie Rose Burke, Freedom Financial Partners, LLC and Reality Financial, LLC, are enjoined from:

  1. Withdrawing, transferring or otherwise encumbering any funds from any account, including but not limited to those accounts in Defendants’ names, at any financial institution into which Defendants or their officers, managers, supervisors, directors, independent contractors or any other persons in active concert or participation with Defendants including, but not limited to, Melodie Rose Burke, Freedom Financial Partners, LLC and Reality Financial, LLC, deposited or transferred money received from consumers as a result of Defendants’ deceptive business practices;
  2. Negotiating any checks, money orders, wire transfers, drafts, or other negotiable instruments received by Defendants or their officers, directors, agents, servants, employees, independent contractors or any other persons in active concert or participation with Defendants including, but not limited to, Melodie Rose Burke, Freedom Financial Partners, LLC and Reality Financial, LLC, as a result of Defendants’ business practices;
  3. Depositing or processing any credit card and debit card receipts obtained by Defendants or their officers, directors, agents, servants, employees, independent contractors or any other persons in active concert or participation with Defendants including, but not limited to, Melodie Rose Burke, Freedom Financial Partners, LLC and Reality Financial, LLC, as a result of Defendants’ business practices, and using any financial transaction device, such as a debit or credit card number, obtained from any consumer; and
  4. Spending, transferring, giving away, or in any way disposing of any monies received by Defendants or their officers, managers, supervisors, directors, independent contractors or any other persons in active concert or participation with Defendants including, but not limited to, Melodie Rose Burke, Freedom Financial Partners, LLC and Reality Financial, LLC, as a result of Defendants’ business practices.

D. banking institutions associated with Defendants: Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, and BBVA Compass Bank.

E. Any further Order as this Court deems necessary and appropriate to further the purposes of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, the Uniform Commercial Credit Code, the Colorado Credit Services Organization Act, and the Federal Credit Repair Organizations Act.

You can read the full court approved temporary restraining order here.

Additional Documentation on Real Talk Network Law Suit

The parties sued were:

The suit makes the following allegations.

Defendants Misrepresent the Overall Results That Consumers Can Achieve Through Joining RTN
Defendants Misrepresent That RTN Can Improve Consumers’ Credit Scores
Defendants Misrepresent That RTN Has Special Relationships With Banks
Defendants Misrepresent That Consumers Can Obtain Zero Percent Interest Credit Cards Through RTN
Defendants Misrepresent the Nature of Services Offered by RTN
The RTN Contract is Misleading and Does Not Comply with State or Federal Law
Defendants Misrepresent RTN’s Payment Policies

You can read the entire suit here.


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