La Crescenta, CA (PRWEB) June 20, 2006
Two California consumers, Shane Satey and Kenneth Holtzclaw, have brought a class action against Great Seneca Financial Corp. and the debt collection law firm of Wolpoff & Abramson, alleging unfair and fraudulent debt collection and credit reporting practices and also that Great Seneca was collecting debts in California for months without being properly registered as a California corporation. Holtzclaw/Satey vs. Great Seneca Financial Corp., et al., Case No. 06 E 02709.
For at least several months, nationwide debt collector Great Seneca Financial Corp. allegedly collected debts in California without being licensed to do business here. Hundreds, even thousands, of California consumers who paid money to Great Seneca to settle debts may be entitled to relief.
The story began with Shane Satey, a Southern California resident and a victim of identity theft. An identity thief stole Mr. Satey’s Chase credit card information and used it to charge up over $8,000 at a local retailer in Glendale. Although Mr. Satey sent a copy of the police report to Chase, Chase credit-reported the alleged debt and also sold it to debt collectors. In late 2005, debt collector Great Seneca purchased the debt and sued Mr. Satey, who hired the La Crescenta consumer protection firm Brennan, Wiener & Associates to obtain justice for the identity theft. On the very day when Brennan, Wiener & Associates contacted Great Seneca’s attorneys, Wolpoff & Abramson, Great Seneca mysteriously dismissed the case without comment.
A few months later, Great Seneca sued Kenneth Holtzclaw on an alleged debt which was many years older than the four-year limitations period for collecting debts in California. Seeking information about his rights, Mr. Holtzclaw coincidentally contacted Brennan, Wiener & Associates. Brennan, Wiener & Associates learned that Great Seneca was not licensed or registered as a California corporation, so Brennan, Wiener & Associates filed an answer and cross-complaint against Great Seneca and Wolpoff & Abramson. Suddenly, Great Seneca became properly registered as a California corporation on April 10, 2006, although it had been collecting debts in California for several months before then.
Mr. Holtzclaw and Mr. Satey have filed a class action in Los Angeles Superior Court against Great Seneca and Wolpoff & Abramson for alleged unfair and fraudulent debt collection practices. Holtzclaw/Satey vs. Great Seneca Financial Corp., et al., Case No. 06 E 02709.
“Their conduct was no accident,” commented lead class action counsel Robert F. Brennan of Brennan, Wiener & Assoc. “By not properly registering itself as a corporation, Great Seneca avoided paying taxes and other fees that it would have paid had it properly registered with the State of California. Even more important, Great Seneca was insulating itself from any kind of cross-complaint for unfair debt collection practices or unfair credit reporting because it had no agent for service of process in California.” Mr. Brennan also commented on the relationship with the Wolpoff & Abramson law firm. “As far as we can tell, Wolpoff & Abramson and Great Seneca are two peas in a pod. Our preliminary research suggests that Wolpoff & Abramson set up Great Seneca just to try to insulate itself from unfair debt collection lawsuits. For licensed attorneys to be collecting upon thousands of consumer debts through an unregistered corporation is positively inexcusable. One, two, maybe half a dozen instances is one thing, but here we have several months of such collection practices. I cannot believe Wolpoff & Abramson did not know that Great Seneca was not properly licensed and registered in California.”
The class action seeks damages for the class members as well as an injunction that Great Seneca repay the State of California any penalties, taxes or fees it should have paid when it first began collecting debts in California as an unlicensed corporation. Further, Mr. Brennan states that he will request that the court compel Wolpoff & Abramson to publicly disclose the full nature of its relationship with Great Seneca.
Brennan offers a few tips to consumers being pursued or harassed by debt collectors: “First, know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and its California counterpart, the Rosenthal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. These laws can be found on the internet. If you have any doubts whatsoever about the company trying to collect from you, contact the California Secretary of State and check into the company’s status. The California Secretary of State also sometimes has other information about debt collectors, as does the Federal Trade Commission. You’d sometimes be surprised what you find out.” The Federal Trade Commission has a website at http://www.ftc.gov, which includes information about specific debt collectors. The California Secretary of State website is located at http://www.ss.ca.gov.
Brennan’s website, http://www.socalcreditdamage.com, also gives consumers the tools for handing wrongful debt collection, identity theft and false credit reporting situations.
About Robert F. Brennan: Robert F. Brennan, Esq. and his firm, Brennan, Wiener & Associates, 3150 Montrose Ave., La Crescenta, Ca., handle unfair debt collection, identity theft and wrongful credit report damage cases for residents of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange and Ventura Counties. Brennan, Wiener & Associates have a track record of successfully cleaning up credit reports and also of obtaining compensation for their clients. Mr. Brennan is well known for taking this fairly technical area of the law and breaking it down into its simplicity so that anyone can themselves, without the assistance of an attorney, clean up derogatory marks on their credit reports which do not belong there. When consumers find themselves unable to clean up their credit reports on their own, that’s where Brennan, Wiener & Associates steps in, to ensure that the wrongful derogatory marks get cleaned up and to ensure that the consumers so affected receive adequate compensation.