CHARLESTON -- West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw has asked a Kanawha Circuit Court to stop an Arizona-based debt relief company from doing business in the state.
On Tuesday, the attorney general's office sued Lisa Miller, of Chandler, Ariz., and owner of Allied Corporate Connection, doing business under the trade name First Secure Management. McGraw cited "unlawful telemarketing sales of dubious debt relief services" to West Virginia consumers.
"There is nothing worse than hitting someone who is already down," McGraw said in a statement. "That is why my office will aggressively pursue companies that prey upon consumers who are seeking honest solutions to their difficult financial circumstances."
Last month, McGraw's office began its investigation into the company after receiving numerous complaints from West Virginia consumers who paid fees of nearly $1,000 to telemarketers who identified themselves as representatives of First Secure Management and promised to reduce their interest rates, guaranteeing a minimum savings of $2,000.
"Instead of providing the promised help, such unscrupulous businesses simply add even more debt to already stressed credit card accounts," McGraw said.
McGraw's office said it discovered Miller was behind the First Secure Management scheme after the investigation revealed the telemarketing company's address was a private mailbox leased to Lisa Miller of Chandler, Ariz., and Allied Corporate Connection, LLC, of Mesa, Ariz.
The attorney general's office said it subsequently issued an investigative subpoena, but Miller and Allied failed to comply with it.
McGraw's suit asks the court to enjoin Miller and her companies from engaging in the illegal sales of debt relief and credit services in West Virginia.
It also asks that all payments collected from West Virginia consumers be refunded and that Miller and her companies be assessed civil penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation of West Virginia consumer protection laws.