Pennsylvania Attorney General Jerry Pappert has filed a lawsuit seeking a preliminary injunction to stop an Erie man from practicing law and giving financial and tax advice without the proper licenses. Among the complaints is that the man tried to sell customers a substitute product for auto insurance.
Pappert identified the defendant as Edward Phillips of “Set Free Intrinsic Consulting,” also known as “Intrinsic Consulting Services,” located at 3705 West Lake Road in Erie. In August 2004, Phillips began advertising his services that he describes as legal aid, debt relief, tax relief and financial planning.
Pappert’s lawsuit accuses Phillips of practicing law without a license, giving tax and financial counseling without a license, deceptive sales practices and failure to register a fictitious business name. The Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection identified 22 consumers who had apparently obtained services from Phillips. Pappert said investigators believe there may be more consumers who received “legal advice” or other services.
Pappert said the defendant is accused of advising consumers on how to handle serious legal matters such as home foreclosures, debt collection and tax matters. However, he does not have a valid Pennsylvania law license or any other recognized or proper certifications or licenses to provide legal, financial or tax advice.
Pappert said Phillips also offers “services” such as preparing documents for a so-called Indian drivers’ license and registration as a so-called “Indian Sovran.” Investigators believe that Phillips, in the process of providing these “legal services,” requested and received copies of the birth certificates, social security cards, vehicle titles and various other financial documents and information from a number of consumers. Investigators also believe that the defendant urged consumers to sign their power-of-attorney over to him.
According to the lawsuit, Phillips also advertised and sold a product called “Auto Bond” to a number of consumers who were led to believe that it was a legal substitute for auto insurance. In fact, Auto Bond has never been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation or the Insurance Commission as a valid substitute for the auto insurance requirement in the Commonwealth.
Pappert has asked Erie County Court of Common Pleas to prohibit Phillips from:
– Practicing law without a license.
– Providing professional tax and financial advice without a license or other certification.
– Selling the Auto Bond or any other insurance without a license.
– Preparing legal documents.
– Identifying himself as an attorney or any other designation which misleads consumers.
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