Columbia-based debt management company settles with Maryland and other states

Agrees to pay $4.5 million

November 04, 2010|By Eileen Ambrose, The Baltimore Sun

Columbia-based AscendOne Corp. and its owner agreed to pay $4.5 million as part of a settlement of a multi-state investigation, the Maryland Attorney General announced Thursday.

Maryland, the District of Columbia and 19 states accused AscendOne of performing debt management services without a license while working with nonprofit credit counseling agencies. Regulators also claimed AscendOne did not provide the credit counseling promised and that some consumers enrolled in debt management plans didn't benefit from them.

AscendOne, its subsidiaries and owner, Bernaldo Dancel, denied violating any laws. One subsidiary, Amerix Corp., released a statement saying the matter involved the company providing back-office functions to credit counselors many years ago. It also noted that no consumers had lodged complaints over the issue. Another subsidiary, CareOne Services, has since become licensed in Maryland.

Maryland's share of the settlement is $580,000.

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