Arizona debt settlement firm faces huge fines

Debt settlement companies were recently hit with new regulations by federal regulators, which limit fee collections and advertising activities.

Now, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based company, which allegedly charges fees to consumers hoping to settle credit card debt, has been hit with a fine by Connecticut banking regulators.

J. Hass Group faces up to $3 million in fines for violating consumer-finance laws that require debt settlement firms to have a license to operate in Connecticut. The state’s Banking Commissioner Howard Pitkin says J. Hass has been contacting Connecticut residents since 2009, according to The Hartford Courant. Government officials soon warned the company of the potential repercussions of its unlawful operations.

As of 2010, J. Hass has inked more than 250 contracts with consumers in the state, charging them an average of 15 percent on monthly fees, the news source says. J. Hass says the actions were legal as they were made through a third party.

The company has two weeks to request a hearing before the temporary injunction order becomes permanent.