Unlicensed Lawyer, Credit Services Provider Ordered to Cease and Desist
Silver Spring man must repay consumers thousands for work not done
MD ( Dec. 1, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a Cease and Desist Order against Corey W. Hankerson and his business, The Equity Law Group LLC. The Division alleges that Mr. Hankerson, 33, of Silver Spring, preyed on consumers by offering legal assistance and credit services when he was not licensed as a lawyer or as a credit services professional.
"Offering legal assistance or credit services without a license exploits those consumers who find themselves in trouble and desperate for help," said Attorney General Gansler. "The licensing and registration requirements are there to ensure consumers spend their hard-earned money on getting the help they need from legitimate professionals."
Mr. Hankerson charged consumers who were facing severe financial problems and foreclosures for supposedly providing loan modifications and legal representation in bankruptcy proceedings. He charged consumers thousands of dollars, but provided them little or no services.
The Consumer Protection Division ordered Mr. Hankerson to immediately stop offering and selling legal services, credit services and foreclosure consulting services unless he obtains the required licenses. The Division also ordered Mr. Hankerson to return all of the money he collected from consumers for the unlicensed legal and credit services he sold and performed. Three consumers who provided affidavits in support of the Division's charges are owed a combined $5,000 from Mr. Hankerson.
Further, the Division ordered Mr. Hankerson to comply with the Maryland Credit Services Businesses Act and the Maryland Foreclosure Consulting Act by providing consumers with the information and notices required by these laws. These Acts require consumers to be given detailed information about the services to be performed, the obligations of the providers of such services and the costs involved. Mr. Hankerson must also post a bond or other cash security with the Division in the amount of $20,000 if he intends to legally offer any credit service or legal service in the future.
Consumers with complaints against Corey Hankerson or The Equity Law Group LLC may call the Consumer Protection Division at 410-576-6577 or write to the Consumer Protection Division at 200 St. Paul Place, 16th Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202. A hearing on the Statement of Charges is scheduled to commence on March 5, 2012, at the Office of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road, Hunt Valley, MD 21031.
The Attorney General wishes to thank the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation for its assistance in this matter.