Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has reached a settlement with Boca Raton debt consolidation company United Financial Systems (UFS), which defrauded victims out of nearly $600,000, the Palm Beach Post reports.
UFS set up a system in which consumers looking to reduce or restructure their debt sent monthly payments in exchange for the firm's services. The victims believed they were receiving help to avoid collections - however, after debiting the victim's' bank accounts, UFS didn't disperse the funds to their creditors. About 500 consumers were affected by the scam, some of whom were Florida residents. "The people who sought financial relief from this debt consolidation company were already facing difficult financial times, which were exacerbated when the company failed to refund their money," Bondi said in a statement, as quoted by the news source. "Here's a company I went to in good faith in an effort to resolve an overwhelming financial situation," customer Angeline Gullo of Fort Lauderdale told the Sun Sentinel. "The violation runs deep." Should UFS fail to fully refund each victim, a court ordered judgment of an additional $500,000 in civil penalties will be implemented.