CFPB goes after two lawyers in alleged debt relief scam

The Blog of the Legal Times reports that

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today filed suit against
two lawyers and two debt relief companies, alleging they charged
thousands of consumers illegal advance fees and left some worse off financially. One of the lawyers, Michael Levitis, also faces face mail and wire fraud charges brought by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office — the first-ever criminal charges stemming from a CFPB referral. * * * What’s notable is that the complaint describes the acts as both
deceptive and unfair, but omits the statute’s third element, abusive.
While unfair and deceptive are familiar terms in consumer protection
law, the term “abusive” is new to Dodd-Frank. Among Republicans in Congress, it’s been the subject of much
consternation. At a hearing last year, for example, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy
(R-Wis.) called it "a subjective standard with no bright line.” The CFPB wants the court to force the defendants to disgorge their
ill-gotten profits, award restitution to consumers and impose other
civil money penalties.

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