A federal lawsuit filed in June of 2019 in Florida's Southern District court alleges that Jeremy Lee Marcus used PNC Bank accounts to run a fraudulent debt relief scheme that bilked consumers out of $85 million. Marcus used over a dozen business names, including 321 Loans, Helping America Group, Instahelp America Inc. and Financial Freedom National Inc., 142 internet domain names and 440 direct-dial phone numbers to convince consumers to participate in the phony debt relief program. The lawsuit was filed by Miami attorney, Jonathan Perlman, who was appointed receiver in a previous suit filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in May of 2017. As receiver, it was Perlman's job to manage and investigate Marcus' affairs and attempt to recover funds for consumers who were defrauded.
Marcus' debt relief companies falsely told consumers that their unsecured debts would be settled or payment terms modified to reduce balances, interest rates or fees. Some were sent what appeared to be loan documents for low interest rate loans that were supposed to be used to consolidate and pay off their debts. Consumers' bank accounts were debited monthly to pay off remaining debt, however, no loans were ever made and monthly payments were not applied to the consumers' debt. Consumers eventually were told by their creditors that no payments were being made, and many were sued by their creditors, left in financial distress and forced into bankruptcy.
According to the lawsuit, “more than $32.8 million passed through PNC Bank accounts over the life of the banking relationship between the bank, Marcus, and the various companies he created.” Shortly after Marcus began his debt relief scheme in 2014, PNC Bank became suspicious of his companies activities and shut down his accounts. Despite this, PNC Bank resumed its banking relationship with Marcus just nine months later. The lawsuit alleges that PNC Bank assisted Marcus in funneling millions of dollars through his various PNC accounts and hundreds of thousands of dollars to offshore accounts held by Marcus' different business entities. Marcus has repeatedly refused to comment on his relationship with PNC Bank and bank officials have stated that the bank does not comment on legal matters. The SunSentinel reports that a spokeswomen for the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Florida said by email that the Department of Justice “does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation” into PNC Bank.
If you believe that you were a victim of a fraudulent debt relief agency, please contact our office for a free, no obligation consultation at 1-800-219-3577.