The Whistleblower blog was started in 2008. Look for posts by these contributors: James Eli Shiffer, Jane Friedmann, Brandon Stahl, Eric Roper and Alejandra Matos. | Check out the Whistleblower archive.

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Burnsville's United Credit Consultants ordered to stop debt services

Posted by: Alejandra Matos Updated: March 3, 2014 - 9:22 PM

United Credit Consultants was ordered to stop offering debt settlement services because it did not have the proper license, the Department of Commerce announced Monday.

A cease-and-desist order issued Friday said the Burnsville company “engaged in unregistered debt settlement services.”

The company, featured in Sunday’s Whistleblower column, says it has trained specialists that can help consumers remove unverifiable and inaccurate information from credit reports. Last month, UCC announced it would help consumers “settle or work out a payment” on debts.

UCC is licensed as a credit service organization but needs a separate license for debt settlement services. UCC owner Joseph McGlynn said late Monday that his company has applied for a Debt Settlement license. 

UCC Consent Order - Fully Executed

Did you seek help to fix your credit?

Posted by: Alejandra Matos Updated: February 24, 2014 - 5:04 PM

The Federal Trade Commission and Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson have warned consumers to be careful when paying a company to help repair their credit.

On her website, Swanson says, “while credit scores can be improved, it is important not to use ‘credit repair’ companies. These companies offer to improve your credit score or lower your interest rates for a fee. Unfortunately, these companies hardly ever improve a consumer’s creditworthiness.”

But a local attorney told Whistleblower that credit repair companies may help consumers lower their debt or navigate the process of reporting errors to the FTC.

Have you ever used a credit repair company? Were you successful in resolving your issues? I’d like to hear from you. Contact me at amatos@startribune.com or 612.673.4028.

CPAs urged to identify fraud against seniors

Posted by: Alejandra Matos Updated: February 18, 2014 - 1:30 PM

Minnesota’s 9,600 Certified Public Accountants were urged Tuesday to help identify senior financial abuse as they help elders prepare their tax returns.

Commissioner Mike Rothman of the Minnesota Department of Commerce sent a letter to the state’s CPAs identifying signs of financial abuse. They include substantial changes in income, exotic investment, missing or incomplete documentation and financial gifts.

The department cited a study conducted by the Investor Protection Trust that showed one out of every five citizens over the age of 65 has fallen victim to a financial swindle costing American seniors $2.5 billion per year.

UPDATED: Chiropractor faces more discipline

Posted by: Alejandra Matos Updated: February 24, 2014 - 4:59 PM

UPDATE: Chiropractor Patrick Corrick lost his license because he failed an industry ethics test administered by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Corrick was required to pass the exam as part of his stayed suspension.

PREVIOUS POST: The chiropractic license of Patrick Corrick was suspended this week after a state panel determined he may be violating the requirements of a stayed suspension imposed in August.

Last year, Whistleblower reported how the Board of Chiropractic Examiners found that Corrick assaulted employees at another clinic and kept inadequate patient records. The board allowed him to keep practicing, but required him to participate in ethics training and state mental health/substance abuse monitoring. 

It’s not the first time Corrick, who practices in Crystal, has faced disciplinary action. In 2001, the board revoked his license for attempting to defraud the state’s no-fault insurance policies.

His license was fully reinstated in 2011.

Marketer banned from sending texts

Posted by: James Eli Shiffer under Advertising claims, Businesses in hot water, Scams Updated: February 10, 2014 - 6:26 PM

By Alejandra Matos

A Wisconsin marketer was permanently banned from sending unsolicited text messages to consumers after he sent millions of texts to people promising free gift cards and electronics, the Federal Trade Commission announced last week.

Jason Q. Cruz of West Bend, Wis., allegedly sent the text messages promising free iPads or $1,000 gift cards from major retailers, the FTC said.

Those who clicked on the links were taken to a website that requested their personal information and required them to sign up for multiple “risky” trial offers for “questionable products and services” that cost money or included recurring monthly charges, the FTC said.

The FTC sued Cruz in March, and the ban on future texts settles that lawsuit.

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