For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: October 30, 2013
White Hat Group Must Pay Restitution for Unlicensed Law Practice
(Boise) - Former customers of the Boise-based White Hat Group may receive restitution payments under terms of a legal settlement with the Idaho Attorney General's Office, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said today. Wasden said White Hat Group and its owner, Mark Wicklund, entered into a consent judgment, resolving allegations that the company and Wicklund engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. In addition to requiring payment of restitution to former customers, the settlement prohibits White Hat Group and Wicklund from providing legal advice and performing other acts that constitute the practice of law in Idaho.
Former customers who believe they are eligible to receive restitution under the settlement must file a consumer complaint form with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division before December 2, 2013. Complaint forms are available on the Attorney General's website at www.ag.idaho.gov or by calling (208) 334‑2424, or toll-free in Idaho (800) 432‑3545.
Former customers of White Hat Group filed numerous complaints with the Attorney General. Consumers also complained that the White Hat Group did not perform the services for which consumers had paid. The Attorney General alleged that Wicklund falsely represented that he was qualified to represent them in legal matters when he was not. It is a violation of the Consumer Protection Act to represent that you have qualifications you do not have.
"Consumers must be cautious of non-attorneys who advertise legal services," Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. "Unlicensed persons too often prey on people in need of immediate legal assistance and, on occasion, consumers who do not speak English. Paying thousands of dollars to persons who are unfamiliar with Idaho's legal system and laws only compounds the consumers' difficulties."
The consent judgment also requires White Hat Group and Wicklund to reimburse the Attorney General for the costs of the investigation. If Wicklund fails to comply with the terms of the judgment, he is subject to a penalty of $50,000.00.
The Attorney General recommends that consumers speak with a licensed attorney if they have questions about their legal rights or options. Consumers may contact the appropriate state licensing agency to ensure an attorney is licensed in the state where they need assistance. In Idaho, that agency is the Idaho State Bar, which is available at www.isb.idaho.gov or at (208) 334-4500.
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