NEWS RELEASE
Office of Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.


April 24, 2002 Media Inquiries: Sean Caine 410-576-6357

CURRAN ORDERS CREDIT REPAIR BUSINESS
TO CEASE DECEPTIVE AND ILLEGAL PRACTICES

Business Ordered to Pay Restitution and $867,000 Penalty

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has ordered a Prince George's County business, and its President, to cease offering credit repair services to consumers. Omega Credit Restoration Services, which has its principal place of business at 4400 Stamp Road, Suite 401, Marlow Heights, Maryland, and Charles Brooks, its President, were also ordered to pay full restitution to consumers they harmed through deceptive and illegal practices, as well as an $867,000 civil penalty.

The Division found that Brooks and Omega had violated state and federal law by offering to remove negative but accurate credit information from consumers' credit records and advising consumers to obtain new credit identities. The Maryland Credit Services Businesses Act and the United States Credit Repair Organizations Act require credit repair businesses to inform consumers that they cannot get negative information removed from a consumer's credit file if that information is accurate. Both laws also prohibit consumers or businesses assisting them from creating new Social Security numbers in order to establish new credit.

Brooks and Omega also violated state and federal law by failing to adequately advise consumers about their credit rights, offering credit repair services that they knew would be ineffective in repairing consumers' credit histories, failing to advise consumers of their cancellation rights, and collecting money from consumers before complete performance of services. Omega also violated Maryland law by selling credit repair services without having a license or posting a bond with the Maryland Commissioner of Financial Regulation throughout the period they sold credit repair services.

Omega solicited consumers through yellow pages advertisements, through a website, over the telephone and sometimes in-person when Brooks or his sales agents met with consumers in their homes. Consumers who purchased credit repair services from Omega paid on average $360 or more.

"This company took money from consumers with promises to repair their credit histories, something it knew it couldn't accomplish," Curran said. "Consumers should know that if their credit records contain negative information that is accurate, there's nothing a ‘credit repair' company can do to get it removed."

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