By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
If you own a credit card, listen up, and listen good: You've been bamboozled, hoodwinked and swindled.
You've been duped, deluded and taken for a ride. Everything you think you know about money is wrong. You've been sold a bill of goods by a corrupt banking system pulling the strings on a puppet government. This may sound like some Area 51 or grassy knoll nonsense, but you need to wrap your head around it: Federal law has never allowed banks to extend "credit," because there is no such thing as credit. At least not the way you've been led to believe.
And if you're thousands of dollars in debt, the banks don't want you to know this, because if you fought back with this knowledge, the whole house of credit cards would crumble, and they'd be exposed for the bug-eyed scammers that they are. If you had a better understanding of financial law, of the Uniform Commercial Code and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, you'd have the tools to march right into court and make them prove under law where they actually gave you "money." In fact, this smoke-and-mirrors system is so twisted that, once you sign the card contract, the bank actually owes you money.
But here's the deal: This knowledge can be yours. There are plenty of courageous souls out there running Web sites and operating out of P.O. boxes who will sell it to you. (As long as you don't pay via credit card, of course, because you've proven to be completely unreliable with one of those.) This knowledge costs about $5,000, but what's $5,000 compared to $50,000 of debt? And these people won't help you negotiate or consolidate or even eliminate your debt. No, they'll invalidate it. They'll help you prove that no debt ever existed because no money was ever lent.
And just who are these people? Are they licensed financial advisers or attorneys? Does it matter? If you're drowning, do you ask about the person throwing you the line?
But if you must know, the man who's thrown the line to hundreds of people in Texas and across the country is Houstonian Bob Lindsey, an ex-convict and recovering crack addict. Lindsey's a guy you can trust, and you can tell this right away because he wears a cross around his neck. But now the Texas Attorney General is saying Lindsey is violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, among other laws.
The AG's office pounced on Lindsey as soon as an investigator was forwarded the one complaint the office received about him. The AG's office wasn't going to stand for anyone ripping off vulnerable Texas consumers. Or at least that's what the office stated in its press release touting its injunction against Lindsey.
But if that's the case, why isn't the office going after the people who complained about Lindsey in the first place? Those people were Lindsey's bosses. And the nearly half a million Lindsey took from consumers wasn't supposed to go to Lindsey. It was supposed to go to them.
And now that his former bosses have sicced the Attorney General on Lindsey, they're completely free to go after those same consumers the AG is supposed to be protecting.
On June 3, the AG's office received an e-mail from a guy named Phil Manger, who identified himself as the managing member of the Credit Collections Defense Network.
"[The Network] was formed to help consumers with overwhelming credit card debt and it provides educational information to consumers regarding their rights under various consumer laws," Manger's e-mail stated. "For example, if it appears that a CCDN customer is the victim of an unfair debt collecting practice, CCDN will refer its customer to one of the consumer attorneys in its network."
Manger went on to say the Network had a contract with Lindsey, who, under the name The Credit Card Solution, would refer consumers to them. But in April, Lindsey terminated the contract, and in May, the Network discovered that Lindsey had withheld $469,000.
"At this point, we are getting no cooperation from Mr. Lindsey or TCCS, which has, in turn, frustrated our ability to assist the 243 affected customers," Manger wrote. "We are committed to continue serving all of the affected customers while this issue is being resolved. I believe at this point, we need your help and I will be pleased to provide you with any additional information that might be helpful to your investigation of this matter."
Manger included his Connecticut phone number, but no address for the Network, which, like many reputable companies, is a Nevada corporation operating out of post office boxes in Chicago and Brick, New Jersey. Manger made no mention of the fact that the Network was itself the subject of an injunction and investigation of deceptive trade practices by the West Virginia Attorney General's Office. And he didn't say what "educational information" the Network gave its customers.
And while Manger stated that the Network was "committed to serving all of the affected customers while this issue is being resolved," he didn't say that the Network had already e-mailed those customers and asked them for more money if they wanted to stay in the program.