Two companies that took consumer payments but allegedly failed to deliver on debt-settlement promises have been sued by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

Jeremy Nelson of Trabuco Canyon, Calif., is the president of Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight, based in Nevada, and Nelson Gamble & Associates, based in Colorado.

The businesses advertised that they could help consumers settle their debts, took payments but often did not follow through with the promises, DeWine says. Nelson's businesses also were not registered with the Ohio Secretary of State to do business in Ohio.

Nelson's advertisements allegedly gave consumers the impression that they were getting professional services connected with legal counsel.

Representatives who consumers spoke with by phone allegedly said that the business would negotiate with consumers' creditors so that consumers could settle their debts by paying a fraction of what they owed. The services promised were allegedly never rendered.

DeWine's lawsuit alleges that Nelson and his businesses violated Ohio's Debt Adjuster Act and Consumers Sales Practices Act. Specific allegations include misrepresentation, failure to deliver and charging higher fees than allowed by Ohio law. DeWine's lawsuit seeks civil penalties, customer restitution and injunctive relief.

"This individual operated businesses that promised to help settle consumers' debts, told them to stop communicating with their creditors, and took upfront payment before providing any services," DeWine said. "Ultimately he and his businesses failed to fulfill their promises and violated Ohio law."

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