By CHRIS DICKERSON
CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has filed a lawsuit against Simple Recovery Solutions LLC for allegedly trying to collect debt that was unverified or never existed from West Virginians.
Todd West and Alexander Simao, who were managing members of SRS, were also named as defendants in the suit.
Beginning as early as Aug. 5, the state began receiving complaints from West Virginia consumers complaining they had been contacted by SRS regarding debt they allegedly owed, according to a complaint filed in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Morrisey claims SRS responded to the consumer complaints generally advising the state that the company would put accounts in "cease communication" status until the underlying debts could be verified and the AG's office commenced an investigation to determine if SRS was violating the Consumer Credit and Protection Act.
The defendants failed to respond to informal information requests related to their business operations and the original creditors whose debts they were trying to collect, according to the suit.
Morrisey claims during the past eight months, the state has received numerous complaints alleging SRS engaged in repeated and willful violations of the consumer act in the collection of alleged debts from West Virginia consumers.
The state received at least 125 complaints about SRS, according to the suit.
Morrisey claims the defendants engaged in unfair or deceptive acts or practices and was collecting debts without a license.
"This complaint seeks to protect West Virginia consumers from paying out money they do not owe," Morrisey said. "Our office believes SRS and its owners have collected, or attempted to collect, unverified debts from at least 125 West Virginia consumers so far."
Morrisey said the AG's office wants to make consumers aware of the potentially fraudulent debt collection efforts affecting the state.
"Our office will always work to protect consumers from unscrupulous business practices," Morrisey said.
Morrisey is seeking the court to grant an immediate preliminary injunction enjoining the defendants from collecting or attempting to collect any debt in West Virginia; ordering the defendants to notify all consumer reporting agencies to which they reported any information about debts allegedly owed by West Virginia consumers to delete this information from consumers' credit records; ordering the defendants to provide the state the names, addresses and telephone numbers of West Virginia consumers from whom they have collected or attempted to collect debts alleged to be owing; and ordering the defendants to provide all contact information they have for any original creditor whose original claim the defendants are collecting or attempting to collect from West Virginia consumers.
The state is represented by Douglas L. Davis of the Office of the Attorney General.
The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Tod J. Kaufman.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 15-C-905