AG Gansler Announces Final Order Against Phony Lawyer
Silver Spring man ordered to pay more than $200,000 in restitution and penalties
Baltimore, MD ( Aug. 17, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has issued a Final Order against Corey W. Hankerson, who operated as the Equity Law Group LLC. From 2009 to 2011, Mr. Hankerson told consumers he was a lawyer and offered to provide legal and credit services, such as loan modifications and foreclosure consulting services. Consumers who were already in financial distress paid thousands of dollars in fees to Mr. Hankerson for assistance that he failed to provide.
"Con artists like this can make a difficult situation even worse for vulnerable consumers," said Attorney General Gansler. "It is outrageous that a person would misrepresent himself as a lawyer in order to take advantage of Marylanders struggling for their financial survival."
In November 2011, the Division charged Mr. Hankerson with violating the Maryland Consumer Protection Act, the Credit Services Businesses Act and the Protection of Homeowners in Foreclosure Act. In its Final Order, the Division concluded that Mr. Hankerson misled consumers by falsely claiming he was a lawyer who could legally provide credit services and foreclosure consulting services. In addition, the Division found that Mr. Hankerson failed to comply with legal requirements contained in the Credit Services Businesses Act and Protection of Homeowners in Foreclosure Act regarding notices and disclosures that must be given to consumers who enter into agreements for credit services and foreclosure consulting services.
The Division ordered Mr. Hankerson to cease misrepresenting his qualifications to consumers and to stop offering credit services unless he obtains the license and posts the bond required by Maryland law. Mr. Hankerson has also been ordered to return all of the money he took from consumers, including $12,750 that he collected from the six consumer victims who testified in the case. The Final Order penalized Mr. Hankerson $300 for each of the 787 days he illegally advertised his services, which totals $236,100.
Consumers who wish to contact the Consumer Protection Division regarding this matter may call 410-576-6577.