For some reason I am suddenly getting flooded with information regarding Legal Helpers Debt Resolution. Here is what just arrived. A tipster (send in your tips here) forwarded me a copy of a recent filing by Geraci Law in Chicago, Illinois that has filed a grievance with the office of lawyer regulation in Wisconsin. The grievance is against William K. Murphy and Legal Helpers Debt Resolution.
From the wording of the letter this is not the only such complaint that has been filed and informed sources indicate this may not be the only state in which complaints have been filed against attorneys.
Here is another example of pure fraud. Mr. and Mrs. [redacted] had 78K in unsecured debt, and these attorneys took $3,892 from them, between June and October 2010, under the guise of a “debt settlement program” that was never going to work.
Their advertising is totally false, and the letter they sent does not comply with Wisconsin rules. Nor does their fee agreement. Fees were “upfront” without doing anything except one letter, unearned fees were not accounted for, refunded, or kept in trust, and according to internet reports this is a nationwide scam that is netting them millions a months[sic]. They are fee-splitting with non-attorneys and committing fraud.
In fact an additional document included in the information I received did identify a second consumer that had a complaint submitted as well. You can see that letter above.
The complaint seems to have caught the fact that the Legal Helpers bankruptcy operation was running commercials saying “debt resolution does not work” while Legal helpers Debt Resolution was selling debt resolution services. You can watch a similar commercial here.
The grievance filed alleges a number of serious violations of Attorney Disciplinary rules including:
- Conflict of interest and self-dealing
- Sharing fees with non-lawyers
- Fraudulent representations
- Failure to hold client funds in IOLTA account, or even in a trust account
- Failure to notify of fee arbitration rights
- Excessive fees
- Failure to refund unearned fees
- Practice of law by non-lawyers
- Practice of law in Wisconsin by unlicensed attorneys
- Fee splitting
- False advertising
- Violation of duty of honesty.
At the time this article was published I had not heard back from Attorney Geraci or the Supreme Court of Wisconsin with an update.
What is interesting is that in Wisconsin William Murphy is listed as being an attorney with Legal Helpers, PC, a separate company that promotes bankruptcy, (source) but on the Legal Helpers Debt Resolution letterhead he is listed as a partner of Legal Helpers Debt Resolution as well which talks down bankruptcy and promotes debt settlement.
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