Sonya Smith-Valentine, Esq.

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$2.5 Million Dollar Settlement in FTC case against Asset Acceptance

Asset Acceptance, one of the largest consumer debt buyers, has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle the FTC’s charges against it.  The FTC alleged that Asset Acceptance (1) failed to disclose that debts are too old to be legally enforceable, (2) failed to disclose that a partial payment could extend the time a debt […]

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New Rules in Maryland Debt Collection Cases

Effective January 1, the Maryland Court of Appeals has instituted new rules that will require debt buyers to have more proof before they can obtain affidavit judgments in debt collection cases.  This is good news for debtors. Debt buying companies focus on buying debts from credit card companies and other creditors that are past due.  […]

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Maryland Court Stays Thousand of LVNV and Resurgent Capital Debt Collection Cases

The District Court of Maryland ordered a stay on over 3,800 debt collection cases filed by LVNV and Resurgent Capital Services.  The order is in response to the suspension of the collection agency licenses for the 2 companies by the Maryland Office of Financial Regulation.  The stay stops the cases from proceeding and prevents the […]

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Sunshine Financial Group Debt Collection Cases Dismissed by Maryland District Court

The District Court of Maryland dismissed 314 Sunshine Financial Group debt collection cases against Maryland residents. The mass dismissals are part of the terms of a settlement between the Sunshine Financial Group and the Maryland State Collection Agency Licensing Board. The pre-judgment dismissals are “without prejudice,” so the cases might be re-filed in the future. […]

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Real Wealth Inc. Ordered to Pay $10.4 Million for Work-At-Home Scam

A federal judge has ordered Real Wealth Inc. to pay $10.4 million for the harm caused to thousands of consumers nationwide who bought in to the company’s work-at-home and grant scams. The company was charged with duping thousands of consumers nationwide with a direct-mail campaign that targeted the elderly and disabled. They marketed and sold […]

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$19 Million Dollar Judgment Against Mortgage Modification Company

A federal court banned First Universal Lending, LLC from the mortgage modification business and ordered them to pay nearly $19 million for consumer refunds, according to terms of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The company allegedly deceived homeowners with false claims that they would help to modify their mortgages. First Universal encouraged homeowners […]

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Shopping Scam Victims Receive $3 Million in Refunds

The Federal Trade Commission is sending $3 million in refunds to more than 172,000 consumers who were falsely promised free gifts and wrongfully paid monthly fees for “program memberships” in discount buying and travel clubs. The free gifts promised to consumers included shopping sprees, movie passes and gas vouchers. The court banned Brian K. McGregor, […]

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No Real Regulation for Maryland Debt Settlement Industry

“Wouldn’t you like to get something for nothing? That sounds too good to be true, but it’s the business model the debt settlement industry has regularly used as it has taken money from tens of thousands of vulnerable consumers around the country and often done little or nothing to help them settle their debts. To […]

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Protect Not Just Your Name But Your Child’s Name Too

The Maryland Family Magazine had a good article on child identity theft.  Identity theft is not just a problem for adults, it’s a problem for kids as well.  Child identity theft is an easy crime because the child is an unsuspecting victim and the most common perpetrator (a family member) has ready access to the […]

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Thousands of Maryland Cases Dismissed

The Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland dismissed over 10,000 debt collection cases against Maryland residents. The mass dismissals are required by the terms of a settlement of a class action lawsuit against Midland Funding in federal court. The dismissals include cases against Maryland residents who have been sued in District Court between […]

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