For those of us who have been involved in the debt relief industry, there are a couple of landmark events that created havoc for the industry and consumers.
Take Ameridebt as an example. Or how about Allegro Law. But then again there were the Morgan Drexen and Legal Helpers Debt Resolution debacles.
As an industry, if we are going to burn something to the ground and harm consumers, it’s going to happen with conviction.
But one old example that was the early poster child for the failure of advanced fee debt settlement companies was Hess Kennedy. That’s a story I began covering in 2008.
I thought that mess was all over, but I was wrong. According to a document sent in by a tipster (send in your tips here) the Chase Bank action against Consumer Law Center of Delray Beach and others, is still in the works.
On July 29, 2015, Chase Bank was awarded “Summary Judgment on Counts I, III, and VI against Defendant Edward Cherry, a/k/a Edward T. Kennedy,” and a/k/a Edward Gregory Steadman (Cherry).
All the other Defendants in the Chase case had concluded their participation. Those defendants included Hess Kennedy Chartered, Laura Hess, Laura Hess & Associates, Hess Kennedy Holdings, Hess Kennedy Company Chartered BWI, Consumer Law Center, The Campos Chartered Law Firm, Legal Debt Center, Jeffrey Campos, and Jeff Campos.
The court document says “Cherry was the owner, officer, manager, member, and/or director of three of the Hess Kennedy Entities. The Hess Kennedy entities operated several interrelated debt elimination/settlement companies. The companies were composed of law firms responsible for debt settlement, which Hess, a lawyer, operated, and a company for processing payments, managed by non-lawyer Cherry.”
The bad news about the enterprise and the allegations of how the companies and individuals harmed consumers are contained, at length, in this court document.
In closing a chapter in that former Chase case, the Court ordered “that Defendant Edward Cherry, a/k/a Edward T. Kennedy, n/k/a Edward Gregory Steadman, is permanently enjoined from:
- Engaging in consumer debt-related services, whether secured or unsecured, including debt settlement services, debt management serives or any other service related to the consolidation, invalidation, reduction or dispute of consumer debts, either directly or indirectly, whether as the practice of law through a law office or law firm or as a business through any type of business or entity that is not a law officer, law form, or engaged in the practice of law.
- Representing and/or soliciting through print, electronia, or verbal advertising or communication, either directly or indirectly, that he offers, provides, or otherwise renders consumer debt-related services, whether secured or unsecured, including debt settlement services, debt management services or any other service related to the consolidation, invalidation, reduction or dispute of consumer debts, either directly or indirectly, whether as the practice of law through a law office or law firm or as a business through any type of business or entity that is not a law office, law firm or engaged in the practice of law.
- Accepting, receiving or otherwise obtaining payment from consumers for consumer debt-related services…
- Sharing, publishing, selling or otherwise disseminating the methods or processes of Hess Kennedy Company, Inc., The Consumer Law Center, LLC, or Legal Debt Center and/or any related or successor entities, or selling, training or educating any other person or entity regarding debt settlement or elimination, including, without limitation, credit, unsecured debt elimination; and
- Interfering in any way with the contractual relationships and obligations between Chase and its cardmembers, including, without limitation, advising, encouraging, or suggesting to cardmembers that they not make payments to Chase.”
Will this action mark the end of the actions of the dude now known as Edward Steadman? I doubt it, the guy is a hyper entrepreneur who is always motivated, it seems, to start on the next grand adventure.
Even if Chase was to use this court order to move Eddie out of the debt relief business, as I just covered here, there is another entity ready to take his place.
If I was a betting man I’d say the odds are pretty good that Cherry might spin this action by saying it is proof that creditors are afraid of the information he has to share and work that into some new strategy involving some type of consumer debt. Cherry might have been slapped by Chase but Cherry or Steadman or whatever name he is going to use next, is not a quitter.
To support that claim all I have to do is look at the variation Ed was involved with after the debt settlement business. Fidelity Law Trust in Florida would up getting a lot of negative attention. Follow that soap opera, here.
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7 thoughts on “Can You Believe Hess Kennedy Debt Settlement Mess Still in the Works?”
Edward Cherry Steadman update arrested May 2018 on 3 gun charges.
For a smart guy Cherry is pretty dumb. I guess he thought he was done with Chase after he included their judgment against him in his bankruptcy. I bet he thought he was further removed from it when he changed his name to Edward Gregory Steadman ( a variation of the name given to who appears to be his birth father Gregory Steadman). None of his theories have ever held up in court. Four of the attorneys he convinced (and he is convincing) to join his scams are now suspended by the Florida Bar ( Laura Hess , Howard Feinmel, Paul A. Herman and Paul Rogers Kennedy). He associates himself with convicted felon Larry Diodato (the poster child for dumb) who throws Ed under the bus in his Fidelity Land Trust deposition. The Florida AG shuts down operation after operation of his and permanently enjoins him from any debt related activity. But, being the smart dumb guy he is, Ed will continue to keep on scamming until he one day ends up in jail. Smarten up dummy.
Steve…I stand corrected. I mis-spoke when I stated that four attorneys with known association with Cherry (and Diodato) were suspended by the Florida Bar. It is actually five ! I left off Evan Kagan who was suspended last year.
• Evan Scott Kagan, Fort Lauderdale, suspended for 90 days. Further, Kagan shall pay restitution of nearly $22,000 to nine clients. Kagan was the subject of numerous Florida Bar disciplinary matters. In each case, Kagan was hired to perform debt consolidation legal services. He accepted the fees for representation and failed to adequately communicate. In some instances, he performed significant legal services but not enough to justify the fees charged.
Maybe a reunion and cookout would be worth holding?
They can all gripe about how each got sanctioned by the bar, had their reputations tarnished, all while Cherry and Diodato took the lions share of each clients fees through Esquire Litigation Support. I wonder if any of them thought it was worth it now.
Don’t know. I invite all who contact me to submit a guest post about lessons learned from the affair but as of today, no takers.
What is the likelihood of one of them posting about “lessons learned ” ? That would equate to an admission of wrongdoing or guilt. Not this crew. Deny , deny, deny is their mantra. Did you read the depositions of Cherry, Diodato, Gallenbeck, etc. ? They defend the business when still in existence then, once busted, deny having worked there, being involved in any aspect, knowing who the owners are, what was being done,etc.. It is fucking comical. Shit, Herman even denied ever working with Cherry the other day, despite the fact that your site clearly posts legal service agreements of his to clients from firms Cherry indisputably owned/operated (not to mention the BBB lists his office as 902 Clint Moore Rd putting him in the same building AND floor of TCFLJ, August Belmont, Fidelity Land Trust, etc). Lessons learned ? There is only one. Set up the next operation better than the last so they don’t get caught. The fucking egos on these guys would never let them do anything other than profess their innocence. The jails are full of guys who all profess the same thing.