PORTLAND – More victims of a “debt relief” company scam are coming forward as the Department of Justice files a lawsuit to keep the company from doing business in the state.
KGW first reported on the story of World Law Debt earlier this month. The company promised debt relief, credit counseling and debt consolidation to people in tough financial situations. Since the story aired, Unit 8 has been contacted by several people who say they’re also out thousands of dollars.
“I thought, this will make things easier for me,” said 78-year-old Dolores Crawley. “To take the stress off.”
Crawley, who breathes with the help of a constant oxygen tank, said she’s been giving World Law Debt more than $400 every month for several months. Her health problems caused her to fall behind with her creditors.
Crawley said not a dime has been paid to any of her creditors.
“Usually you receive statements every month with any business and they said they were still dealing with my creditors,” she said.
“We're essentially seeking to ban them from the state and we're asking for more than $10 million in damages,” said Jeff Manning of the Department of Justice. The state is also seeking full restitution for every potential victim in Oregon.
The Department of Justice’s lawsuit is in response to more than 425 potential victims in Oregon. Many say the money they paid to World Law Debt was not used to pay their creditors.
This claim was echoed by a former World Law Debt employee who asked not to be named.
“Telling them we can still make a plan, we can figure something out, knowing in my head that ultimately they're going to get sued by one of their creditors,” the employee said.
The employee said he spent years at World Law Debt in client services and eventually as a supervisor. He said lying to the customer was part of the job.
“This is not going to help them” he said. “All they're doing is paying us basically to save money.”
Today, the Oregon Department of Justice is urging consumers to stop doing business with World Law Debt as the State’s lawsuit continues to move forward.
“For those people who have done business with World Law Debt, they need to end the relationship and they need to file a complaint with the Justice Department,” said Manning.
Crawley said she plans to follow that advice.
“I'm going to go to the bank today and stop the payments from going out, and from there I don't know what to do,” Crawley said.
World Law Debt disputed the state’s claims. A spokesperson for the company said they are operating legally in Oregon under federal law. The spokesperson says the company has asked the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to intervene in the Department of Justice’s lawsuit.
Although the company is also being sued in other states, their motions to dismiss those lawsuits will be heard in August.