Court orders halt to Texas couple's credit repair operations

FTC: Companies claimed to remove accurate but derogatory information

A Texas couple operating credit repair services has been charged with violating federal law by making false promises to repair consumers' credit reports by wiping out derogatory but accurate information.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced it has filed a complaint against Rudolph Joseph Strobel (aka Lee Harrison) and his wife Leanna Ruth Harrison in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The court has frozen the couple's assets and ordered a halt to the alleged business practices.

"The FTC seeks to bar the defendants from further violations and make them forfeit their ill-gotten gains," according to the agency's press release.

Authorities say the couple operates several credit repair services, including Lee Harrison Credit Restoration, Credit Restoration and Lee Harrison Associates Credit Restoration. All of the companies are located in Naples, Texas, but advertise in print and online classifieds, including USA Today, Thrifty Nickel and Common Cents. They also promoted their services on a website:

According to the FTC, the companies marketing statements included: "Have you had a bankruptcy? We will repair your credit so that this past event does not haunt your future." When consumers called the companies with questions about the service, they were told: "Anything that hurts you, we're going to get it off of [your credit report]."

The FTC seeks to bar the defendants from further violations and make them forfeit their ill-gotten gains.

-- U.S. Federal Trade Commission

The companies allegedly collected advance payments as deposits and then charged between $250 and $1,150 per person.

The FTC's complaint alleges the couple violated the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) and the FTC Act by "falsely representing that they can improve consumers' credit reports by permanently removing negative information, even when the information is accurate and not obsolete." Authorities also cited requiring advance payment for credit repair services as a violation of the CROA.

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Updated: 11-24-2017