Monday, February 01, 2016

Orange County's Jeremy Nelson, pleads guilty to fed charges of credit card debt relief scam.

Posted by CotoBlogzz

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA - Jeremy Nelson, an Orange County, California, man pleaded guilty today for his role in operating fraudulent debt relief firms that offered to settle credit card debts but instead took victims’ payments as undisclosed up-front fees, according to announcement by the Justice Department and U.S. Postal Inspection Service..

Jeremy Nelson, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of an indictment alleging conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in connection with companies known as Nelson Gamble & Associates (Nelson Gamble) and Jackson Hunter Morris & Knight LLP (Jackson Hunter).  

According to the indictment, Nelson and his employees portrayed the debt relief companies as law firms and attorney-based companies that would negotiate favorable settlements with creditors.  Clients made monthly payments expecting the money to go toward settlements.  Nelson and his co-conspirators instead took at least 15 percent of the total debt as company fees, with the first six months of payments going almost entirely toward undisclosed up-front fees. 

Jeremy Nelson’s scheme ran from February 2010 to September 2012.  Nelson admitted he changed the name of his company from Nelson Gamble to Jackson Hunter in 2011.  Nelson and his co-conspirators told victims that Nelson Gamble had gone bankrupt and that Jackson Hunter was an unrelated company that had taken over some of the accounts.  Nelson and his co-conspirators blamed past problems on Nelson Gamble and denied requests for refunds of money paid to Nelson Gamble.  Some victims who previously demanded refunds accepted the explanation that Nelson Gamble was bankrupt and did not pursue complaints against Jackson Hunter.
Nelson faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.  
One of Nelson’s co-defendants, Elias Ponce, previously pleaded guilty in October 2015.  Two other defendants, Athena Maldonado and Christopher Harati, pleaded guilty in June 2015 in a related case.  
Trial against the remaining defendant charged in the scheme, John Vartanian, is set for Sept. 13 in Los Angeles.
In September 2012, the Federal Trade Commission brought a civil case against Nelson and his companies, alleging that the defendants misrepresented debt relief services offered to consumers.  The case was settled by entry of a consent decree in August 2013.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mizer commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service team assigned to the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch for its investigative efforts and thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Central District of California for its contributions to the case.  
The case is being prosecuted by trial attorneys Alan Phelps and James Harlow of the Consumer Protection Branch.  

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