The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced this week that Damian Kutzner, one of the operators of the law firms, Brookstone Law and Advantis Law has been banned from the debt relief business for ripping off millions of dollars from struggling homeowners.
The stipulated order also bans him from providing certain financial products and services, and from making misrepresentations about any products or services. Kutzner was also ordered to pay $18.3 million in restitution which equates to the amount of money he had taken from victims.
The settlement resolves a May 2016 lawsuit filed by the FTC against Kutzner and four attorneys for their “ mass joinder lawsuits” in which homeowners were falsely promised a home free and clear or at least $75,000. The facts are that no one had ever won a lawsuit and the lawsuits were often dismissed by the courts because they did not pursue them. A judge put a stop to the scam on June 1, 2016.
In addition to the order against Kutzner, Jonathan Tarkowski, an attorney, will be banned from the debt relief business and prohibited from making misrepresentations about financial and other products and services. He was also ordered to pay $1.1 million, which will be suspended upon payment of his assets, valued at a paltry $5,307. The full judgment will become due immediately if he is found to have misrepresented his financial condition.
Litigation continues against the remaining defendants.