COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has permanently banned two South Carolina companies from the debt collection industry as part of settlements resolving FTC charges they threatened consumers with legal action to collect debts that did not exist.
Fort Mill-based National Landmark Logistics and Absolute Financial Services were accused by the FTC of using illegal robocalls to leave messages with consumers that threatened lawsuits and/or arrests. The complaints were filed as part of the FTC's Operation Corrupt Collector enforcement sweep.
According to the FTC, the messages left by the companies did not identify the caller as a debt collector and callers would present themselves as mediators or attorneys to consumers who returned the calls.
In most cases, the debts were not actually owed by the consumers, either because they never existed or had been previously paid off.
Under the settlement terms, both defendants will be permanently banned from playing any role in debt collection and are prohibited from making certain misrepresentations to consumers, including whether a consumer owes them a payment, whether they are attorneys or associated with a law firm, or the terms of any refund program.
National Landmark Logistics defendants Liberty Solutions & Associates, LLC ; LSA Processing Systems, LLC; James Dennison; and Eric Dennison face a monetary judgement of $16,418,306, which is partially suspended due to an inability to pay.
The settlement with the Absolute Financial Services corporate defendants (Lashone Elam (also known as Lashone Caldwell); Absolute Financial Services, LLC; Absolute Financial Services Recovery, LLC; AFSR Global Logistics, LLC; and Talesia Neely) contains a monetary judgment of $11,281,993, which is partially suspended due to an inability to pay.
In both cases, the defendants will be required to turn over the contents of numerous bank accounts to the FTC, while Elam will be required to turn over $10,000.
The FTC’s case against National Landmark Logistics, LLC; National Landmark Service of United Recovery, LLC; Silverlake Landmark Recovery Group, LLC; and Jean Cellent will continue.
If any of the defendants in either the National Landmark or Absolute Financial cases are found to have misrepresented their financial status, the full amount of their judgments would become due immediately. In addition, all of the settling defendants will be required to cooperate with the FTC in ongoing law enforcement actions.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and to protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and report scams, fraud, and bad business practices online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.