Multiple creditors, single debtor, nonstop nightmares
What makes lawyers like Timothy Burnette and Monarch Legal Group questionable?
While many companies claim that their debt resolution or debt consolidation program will help people avoid falling into deeper debt, the ones I’ve come across have ended up being bigger nightmares than the debt itself.
Why are debt consolidation programs so initially appealing?
Debt consolidation programs, also referred to as debt resolution programs, have a sales pitch that’s initially appealing to those in debt. The idea behind these programs is that instead of debtors dealing with various creditors who are dunning (demanding payment of a debt) them for various amounts, the debt consolidator works with various creditors while collecting one monthly payment (often a large sum) from the debtor. The program then promises to negotiate on behalf of the debtor with these creditors, and then uses the monthly payments that the debtor has been sending to resolve the outstanding debts.
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However, what usually happens is that the debt resolution company keeps the monthly installments without paying down any significant amount of the debt. Or, it pays down some of the debt and charges ridiculous fees for so-called services. In some cases, it may do a combination of both.
These programs are popular because people may have multiple debts in various amounts owed to numerous creditors, but they only have so much money. But if the debt consolidation program tells them to pay $500 per month (as an example) to pay off a $20,000 debt, they may be able to juggle that rate better. If they stick with this program long enough, everything will be paid off—eventually.
The problem is “eventually” doesn’t happen because the debts never get paid off. Why? The resolution company has kept the your money for itself.
In my opinion, you should stay far away from these types of outfits, especially multiple creditors chasing one single debtor.
Here’s a real-life example involving Monarch Legal Group and a lawyer named Timothy Burnette.
Multiple creditors, single debtor
Monarch Legal Group, operating out of Chicago, is one of these outfits described above. In this lawsuit filed by the City of Chicago against Monarch with lawyer Timothy Burnette supposedly running it, first take a look at paragraphs one through six (PDF pages 1-2). Then, scroll to paragraph 26 (PDF page 7) to read “Defendants’ Debt Resolution Plan and Oppressive Fee Structure.”
These introductory paragraphs generally describe how Monarch claims to be a law firm but doesn’t provide any legal services to its clients. The company also takes money that it promises will be used to resolve its customers’ debts.
The rest of the lawsuit goes into the details of how it does this. In short, the complaint alleges that Burnette is basically a front for an operation in, according to the complaint, Nevada. After completing an online search, I believe that Burnette doesn’t appear to be working as a lawyer nor is he associated with any kind of law firm other than this Monarch front.
There is also a LinkedIn page (as of February 19, 2023) for Timothy Burnette, Esq., showing that he is a real estate salesman at Berkshire Hathaway Services. However, if you review the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission website, it shows that although he has an office in downtown Chicago, he reported that he does not maintain malpractice insurance.
Any lawyer that has a LinkedIn website touting his career as a real estate broker and running around without carrying malpractice insurance is a lawyer that’s not very serious about defending clients against collection lawsuits. Refer to paragraph 67 (PDF page 17) to learn more about how “law firm” Monarch is really just a front to lure debtors into signing up.
I urge anyone considering a debt resolution or debt consolidation program to read the full complaint filed against Monarch Legal Group and the lawyer (for now) Burnette. Although this lawsuit may make your hair stand on end, Monarch is not the only shady player in the debt resolution game.
In upcoming posts, you’ll learn about “debt consolidators” whom I’ve run across. Subscribe and stay tuned for more.
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