The firm must improve its contracts with consumers, including outlining charges for services and the timeline payments are due, as well as pay a civil penalty and register as a credit services organization before continuing its activities.
The Minnesota Department of Commerce has settled a regulatory action against John C. Heath, an attorney doing business as Lexington Law Firm, for violating the state’s laws on fees and registration requirements for credit services organizations.
In May 2020, Lexington Law Firm faced allegations that it:
- Offered, advertised, executed or caused to be executed by consumers contracts for credit services without being registered as a credit services organization with the commissioner of the Department of Commerce, in violation of Minn. Stat. Section 332.54, subd. 1 (2020);
- Charged or received any money or any other valuable consideration prior to the full and complete performance of the credit services it agreed to perform for its customers, in violation of Minn. Stat. 332.56 subd. 1(1) (2020);
- Made statements with respect to its customer’s credit worthiness, credit standing, or credit standing, or credit capacity that were untrue, or misleading, or that should be known by the exercise of reasonable care to be untrue or misleading, to credit reporting agencies or to any person who has extended credit to a customer or to whom a customer is applying for an extension of credit, in violation of Minn. Stat. Section 332.56 subd. 1(3) (2020); and
- Failed to comply with requests for information, documents, or other requests from the Department of Commerce within the time specified in the request, or, if no time is specified, within 30 days of the mailing of the request by the department, in violation of Minn. Stat. Section 45.027, subd. 1a (2020).
Lexington Law was advised of these violations and its right to a hearing in the matter, and to appeal from any diverse determination after a hearing. The firm waived those rights.
The consent order resolving the statute violations requires Lexington Law to submit an application for registration as a credit services organization to the department within 60 days of the effective date of the order or cease and desist its activities.
The firm must also cease and desist from charging for its services prior to full and complete performance of the services it has agreed to complete for consumers and include terms and conditions of payment in its contracts with Minnesota consumers, among other requirements.
It will also pay a $150,000 civil penalty to the state of Minnesota, $100,000 of which was stayed by the Department of Commerce. The stayed portion of the fine will come due if Lexington Law violates the consent order.
Read the complete consent order here.
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