Laura Hess suspended; Hess Kennedy in receivership

by Ted Frank on July 22, 2008

Updating our previous story, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that the Florida Bar has taken action against the law firm that may have ripped off millions of dollars from consumers.

State documents filed in Broward County Circuit Court claim that in 2006 and 2007 the law firm run by Laura Hess and an affiliated company managed by Edward Cherry paid $12 million to friends and relatives, and to businesses run by former employees or associates of Hess and Cherry.

In the meantime, the firm did not negotiate with clients’ creditors or review credit records as promised, resulting in some consumers being sued for their debts or having to file bankruptcy, records showed.

Hess Kennedy Chartered LLC and The Consumer Law Center collected “exorbitant” upfront fees, usually up to 15 percent of the client’s unsecured debt, according to the Florida Bar’s Tuesday filing with the Florida Supreme Court.

{ 9 comments }

1 David 07.23.08 at 10:54 pm

One of Hess’ companies, “The Legal Debt Center” still has an operating website. If Hess’ “debt reduction” companies are in receivership, shouldn’t the FLA AG have shut down this website too?

2 H DELAROSA 08.04.08 at 9:29 am

I HAD HIRED CONSUMERS LAW CENTER IN FL. AT FIRST IT SEEMED LIKE A DREAM COME TRUE..I COULD FIND HELP WITH THE DEPT.WELL ALL THEY MANAGED TO DUE WAS GET ME SUED..THREE TIMES IN FACT.WHEN I CONFRONTED THEM ABOUT IT THEY SAID WELL YOU MUST HAVE SLIPED THRU THE CRACKS! I LATER FOUND OUT THAT ALOT OF MY ACOUNTS WERE NEVER CONTACTED NOR DID THEY EVER HERE OF CONSUMER LAW CENTERS! i CALLED A NUMBER OF TIMES WHERE THEY NEVER RETURNED A CALL OR EMAIL SO I STARTED TO TRY AND FIND A WAY TO GET MY MONEY BACK,FINALLY MY ACCOUNT SUPERVISOR SAID THAT IF I DIDN’T LIKE TO CANCLLE AND GET MY MONEY BACK.. WELL THAT WAS MY OPENING SO I CONATCT THEM AND GOT THE CANCELLATION PAPER WORK FILLED IT OUT AND EDWARD CHERRY SENT ME A DOC THAT STATED I WAS ENTILTLED TO A FULL 100% REFUND,AND SHORTLY THERE AFTER I LEARNED THEY WERE IN RECIEVERSHIP? AND MY MONEY WAS TIED UP..SO NEEDLESS TO SAY I HAVE NOT RECIEVED ON EDIME BACK AND HAVE TO FILL FOR BANKRUPTCY AND I THINK THAT I SHOULD SUE LAURA HESS AND COMPANY FOR DAMAGES AND LOSS OF MONEY. I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT THE ATTONEY GENERAL WOULD HAVE LET SUCH AN ORGANIZATION PREY ON PEOPLE LIKE THIS! ITS THIER JOB TO MONITOR THIS TYPE OF CRIME!!
313 510-9488

3 elizabeth moran 08.09.08 at 6:07 pm

now i am afraid for what i did. I signed in with http://www.thecreditexchange.com/online/clientlogin.asp back in January of 2007 and got on with Hess Kennedy $ Associates, I paid them 442.11 for three months and now am paying them 440.96 a month. I called them a few times but they would refer me to someone and they wouldnt be in the office or at their desk, now i am wondering. I have invested soooo much money now and i dont know what my status is. Their number is 1-8668673135 and thieir address is Hess Kennedy & Company
attorney & counselors at law 1800 Pembrook Dr. Suite 290 Orlando Fl 32810 thanks for reading

4 Darrell Anderson 09.29.08 at 12:02 pm

My wife and i have been dealing with this company for two plus years. It has been nothing but a headache although they took care of smaller account, the larger ones ballooned to the point that we will never be able to pay them back. Now we have to file bankruptcy and are going to lose our home that our four children have loved and lived in. What can be done to these people? We cancelled them but they have frozen our money due to this transition. What are my legal Rights? Anyone Know?

5 Seabastian Rogers 09.29.08 at 9:18 pm

It’s a darn shame that you try to do the right thing to pay off some debt and people like this take advantage of you. Hess Kennedy got me for over $6000.00 and now I will have to file bankruptcy. That money could have went towards other bills and made it easier to feed my family. Can anyone out there offer some advise to get my money back? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

6 Mark Edick 09.30.08 at 11:35 am

Hess/Kennedy has cost poeple thousands and thousands of dollars by their scam – I too was caught up in there scam. I had to take money out of a 40i to pay off one creditor. Now I am trying to pay off the last one and I can’t get a loan from any bank or credit union. The goverment is trying to bail out the banks what about the people that have lost so much money to this company? I was in this program for two years , when I signed with Hess/Kennedy I had to change my address so all correspondence from my creditors went to them. My intrest doubled and when I talked to the agent that signed me up – a MR.Carlos Schenk he told me that while I was in the program that the intrest would freeze untill they made a settlement. Some thing has to be done to the people that lied to us in the first place. I will be checking this site offen so if anyone has an answer PLEASE post it.

7 Legal Beagle 10.02.08 at 5:59 am

I am an attorney who was retained on behalf of approximately 50 clients. I have represented, and continue to represent them in lawsuits which were filed against them by various collection law firms. I continue to do so, despite not being paid, and with the prospect of not being reimbursed for the out of pocket expenses which I am now incurring. It should be noted that I am not an employee of Hess Kennedy, but, rather, an outside counsel who was retained to represent clients on a local basis.

My sympathies are with all of those who have been affected by this current situation. I have few answers to provide you with at this time, but I will tell you what I do know.

The receiver who was put into place to safeguard the assets of the firm is currently attempting to bring back large sums of money that were allegedly misappropriated by principals of the firm. Documentation regarding these actions is supposed to be available through the receiver’s website, accessible through the Hess-Kennedy website. I will tell you though that access to the documents has been spotty (most of the time, the links to the documents have been dead, although they sometimes seem to become available at random times).

I have been informed that there are hearings scheduled to be heard in court October 13-14, 2008. From reviewing the documents, it appears that the receiver is hoping to put in place a refund process for consumers who were affected by the current situation. It also appears that part of the receiver’s proposal is to mail to all current and former clients a letter outlining the process to apply for refunds.

As an attorney represnting a number of clients from this firm, I can tell you that I personally am very troubled by the allegations that have been floated against Hess Kennedy. As an outsider, I am much in the position that many of you are, simply waiting for any information that I can get my hands on.

If you were affected by Hess Kennedy, all I can do is tell you to hang on… answers will be coming soon, at least, I hope they will. My hope is that there will be a court-approved plan in place soon to attempt to take care of people’s losses here. Everything else in the economy seems to be going bad, this is really and truly the last thing we needed.

Hang in there.

8 jannette Grooms 10.03.08 at 3:09 pm

I have been with this company for 2 years.06 I can’t get any answers. I can’t believe that the cosummer credit coucil put me through this company. Not having any money to pay my Bills and then find out they are charging a fee for there service. I have tried to find out how much money I have and still no anwswers.09-08. I have 2 judements against me. they have told I credit company I have no money. Wrong, they take money out of my checking, Which I can’t afford anymore, all my regular bills and utilities or up just like everyone else. I wanted to go bankrupt but I don’t want to lose the money I have paid. i HAVE TRIED FOR YEAR AND A HALF TO FIND OUT HOW MUCH i HAVE AND NO ONE WILL TELL ME.I don’t know what has been done on any of the accounts. I wrote back in March, then I get a letter they changed my agent in May receive a form letter I received 4 times be for. I have spent a lot of money faxing stuff to them and then when I call get the run around and they can’t find anything I sent. I have been sick that last 6 months and I’m lose as want to do. I need my money. HELP!

9 Mark 10.04.08 at 7:58 pm

The Legal Beagle is on the right track. If you really want to know what is happening, Google Lewis B. Freeman and Partners, click on Receiverships, and click on Laura Hess P.A. By doing this, you will have access to all of the court filings in pdf form pertaining to this situation. These filings are up to date, and will tell you everything you need to know about refunds, etc. Although I am not a client, I am an interested consumer and I feel sorry for all of you. When you get on the Lewis B. Freeman website, most of your questions will be answered. Lewis B. Freeman and Partners is the firm directing the receivership of Hess Kennedy and their affiliated companies through the Florida court system.

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