DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that attorneys from the Consumer Protection Section have reached a settlement with attorneys Jack H. Boyajian, Marvin Brandon and Karen Nations, their four law firms and one associated business barring them from violating Colorado’s debt-collection and consumer-protection laws.
The consent decree, approved Monday, March 8, by a Denver District Court judge:
- Permanently bans Brandon from collecting debts in Colorado;
- Enjoins Boyajian from collecting debts in Colorado for five years; and,
- Enjoins Nations from collecting debts in Colorado for three years.
If Boyajian or Nations wants to resume debt collection in Colorado following their respective bans, the settlement requires that they obtain appropriate licenses from the state. The consent decree also requires that Boyajian and the corporate defendants pay the state $200,000 in costs and fees, though $180,000 of the amount against Boyajian will be suspended if he pays the remaining $20,000 in a timely fashion.
The Office of the Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the attorneys and law firms in July 2008 alleging that the law firms and their principals had violated the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Consumer Protection Act.
The defendants’ business primarily revolved around debts related to bounced checks, many of which were outside the statute of limitations and could not be the basis of a legal action. In some cases, the defendants added fees in excess of the amounts allowed by law and demanded penalties of up to three times the amount of the bounced check, often called “treble damages.” Treble damages only can only be assessed following a successful lawsuit. The defendants and their businesses also were suspected of sending out collection letters on law firm letterhead without being reviewed by an attorney.
Each of the law firms named in the state’s lawsuit was incorporated in California with principal offices in New Jersey. None of the three attorneys was licensed to practice in Colorado. The law firms and one associated business are defunct or no longer doing business in Colorado.
Consumers who believe they have been defrauded or harassed by a debt-collection entity can file a complaint online at www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/complaint, over the phone via 1-800-222-4444 or by e-mail to email@example.com.