Philadelphia partner Bill McSwain and associate Rick Haggerty authored an article for Inside Counsel titled, “Regulatory: CFPB, DOJ collaborate in actions against debt settlement company.” The article discussed a criminal indictment and a civil complaint, filed on the same day, against a New York debt settlement company.
On May 7, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed charges against Mission Settlement Agency, its owner and three employees, alleging that the defendants deceived more than 1,200 consumers about the company’s relationship with the federal government and the amount of fees being collected for Mission’s services. On that same day, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a civil complaint in the same federal district court, making identical allegations against Mission, its owner and another debt settlement company, Premier Consulting Group.
The CFPB began investigating Mission and Premier in July 2012, and when it discovered possible criminal violations, it referred the evidence to the DOJ. In a joint press conference announcing the charges, CFPB Director Richard Cordray and U.S Attorney Preet Bharara both indicated that the agencies will continue working together on future investigations that involve consumer financial products.