Chicago’s Major Debt Collection Company Faces Lawsuit Filed by Cook County State’s Attorney and Illinois Attorney General
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, along with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, in conjunction, has filed a lawsuit against Chicago’s major debt collection agency and are charged with consumer fraud-related offenses for allegedly violating two Illinois law – the Illinois Collection Agency Act and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
The Contractor’s Lien Services, Inc., located at the 6315 North Milwaukee, Chicago, as well as its owner-operator Steven Boucher faces lawsuits filed by the Cook County State’s Attorney and the Illinois Attorney General. The defendants are sought to be permanently banned and enjoined from engaging in any further consumer fraud business, specifically those involved in alleged fraudulent schemes of debt collection practices. Furthermore, retribution, as well as cash penalties, are being served, including civil penalties, a refund for victims, and the release of several Mechanics Liens are being demanded from the defendants.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez sends a warning to individuals engaging in consumer fraud, and other deceptive tactics. “The homeowners involved in these lawsuits were clearly taken advantage of by an unscrupulous company that knowingly used deceptive and unlawful tactics for their gain. Consumers in Cook County need to know that they have rights and that companies who violate these rights will be prosecuted. This show of force between the State’s Attorney’s Office and Attorney General Madigan sends a message to deceptive businesses in Illinois,” said State’s Attorney Alvarez.
Self-proclaimed “leading lien filer in the Nation,” the Contractor’s Lien Services claims that they are one of the best lien filers, and is currently unsurpassed among all other companies in the industry or law firms, in terms of filing Mechanics Liens on behalf on contractors in the United States; however, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants have been engaging in the debt collection business without a due license. Additionally, it was reported that the defendants have numerous recorded Mechanics Lien that are ambiguous and misleading. Non-lienable items, overcharges, and services that were not actually performed have also been revealed to have been included by the defendants into several Mechanics Liens, which result to massive inflation in the Liens of the clients, as well as negatively affects the system such that it impairs real estate titles and compromises the integrity of the title recording system.
In this business, the Contractor’s Lien Services provides assistance to contractors and subcontractors in collecting debts for any unpaid work or materials, where the defendants’ scheme involves the collection of debts through sending written payment demands to the homeowners and attaching a record of Mechanic Liens against the owners’ properties. As such, the claims for the payment of monies on the property title of a home or business that are recorded by the defendants are being used as leverage or bait, and subsequently being withheld by Contractor’s Lien Services for more potential gain. Beyond the fraudulent scheme, investigations revealed that neither of the defendants – the Contractor’s Lien Services and Steven Boucher – has ever been presented with an Illinois license to practice and engage in the business of debt collection.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office received complaints from several residents of the Hoffman Estates, to which the Office responded by initiating the investigation and thus, filing the lawsuit against the Contractor’s Lien Services and Steven Boucher. The State’s Attorney’s Office worked in collaboration with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Also, it worked closely with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds, and the Hoffman Estates Police Department throughout the prosecution and investigation of the case against the defendants.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan noted the system by which these deceptive businesses adhere to. She further acknowledges her partnership with Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in their joint efforts in combating consumer fraud in the State. “These defendants are aggressively abusing the law, making gross misrepresentations and using unfair tactics to obtain payments on debts that often don’t even exist, and homeowners are being forced to expend unnecessary resources defending these meritless claims. I am pleased to work with State’s Attorney Alvarez in pursuing this case to bring an end to these deceptive practices,” said Attorney General Madigan.
Further information on the lawsuit, as well as additional information on consumer fraud and consumer fraud safety protections, may be acquired from the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office – Consumer Fraud Unit through Telephone at (312) 603-8700.
Updated: October 10, 2020