COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs (SCDCA), the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) and the State of Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge have filed a complaint in federal court against an Easley lawfirm that allegedly targeted military veteran's pension funds.

The complaint alleges Candy Kern-Fuller, Howard Sutter III and Upstate Law Group, LLC (ULG), underwrote, approved, processed payments and collected debt from high-interest credit contracts in violation of federal and South Carolina law.

This action follows a connected complaint filed by the Bureau and SCDCA against Katherine Snyder, Performance Arbitrage Company, Inc. (PAC) and Life Funding Options, Inc. (LFO). This latest complaint alleges that Kern-Fuller, Sutter and ULG were heavily involved with Snyder, PAC and LFO, assisting in the process where consumers would receive a loan that must be paid using their monthly pension or disability payments. Most of the high-interest credit offers were marketed to veterans.

Kern-Fuller, Sutter and ULG approved and collected debt on consumer credit contracts that are explicitly governed by South Carolina law. The agencies specifically allege that Kern-Fuller, Sutter and ULG engaged in deceptive acts and practices and knowingly and recklessly assisted Snyder, PAC and LFO in committing the same. Kern-Fuller and Sutter had a hand in all integral parts of entering into, and collecting payments under, the high cost credit contracts. Contracts Kern-Fuller, Sutter and ULG knew or should have known were illegal from inception.

SCDCA, the Bureau and the Arkansas Attorney General seek to prohibit Kern-Fuller, Sutter and ULG from further violating state and federal law, declare the contracts void and require payment of fines and refunds, among other requests. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that Kern-Fuller, Sutter and ULG have violated the law.

SCDCA urges consumers who may have signed up for a loan of this type to file a complaint by visiting their website or calling (800) 922-1594. Consumers who are looking for credit, visit DCA’s “Background a Business” page to view licenses, complaints and other helpful information.