by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:CHARLOTTE —
The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office gave Johnson and Associates until Friday to respond to allegations of ripping people off.
Monday, the office told Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke that Ms. Johnson’s response was not “sufficient.”
The attorney general is building a case, and has assigned a lawyer to the investigation. The attorney general is trying to get a list of customers who used Johnson and Associates. Their office’s ultimate goal is to get customers their money back.
Selemah Worthy had bad credit. She hired Tamara Johnson of Johnson and Associates to fix it.
“She kept saying she was doing things and, all the time, I believe that she was just sitting home laughing at us,” said Worthy.
Worthy says she paid Johnson more than $3,000 to fix her credit, settle unpaid debts and even get her a home loan. Instead, Worthy says her credit score got worse, her home ended up in foreclosure, her family had to move and her children had to change schools.
“I’m just so upset. It’s just, it’s really heartbreaking,” said Worthy.
The Attorney General’s Office sent Johnson a letter, telling her the office had serious concerns she may be breaking the law.
Businesses that offer credit repair, loan modification and debt settlement services are not allowed to take money up front. The letter ordered Johnson to change her ways “immediately.”
The Better Business Bureau recently labeled the company one of its “Dirty Dozen.”
“If you have a record of ignoring your customers’ complaints, you’re not going to be in business much longer,” said Tom Bartholomy with the Better Business Bureau.
In an email specifically to Action 9, Johnson said she “will not be doing any more business” and that she was “unaware” she may have been breaking the law.
Meanwhile, Worthy still has strong emotions about the experience she has been through.
“All the lies she caused and everything she did is just really heartbreaking. It really is and I don’t wish this on anyone [to] have to go through this,” said Worthy.
Worthy is thinking about suing.
Johnson and Associates is based in South Carolina. There companies can charge money up front for credit repair. Johnson says she did not know the rules were different.