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 says.
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. Go to: www.ag.idaho.gov or call (208) 334-2424, or toll-free in Idaho (800) 432-3545.
Former customers of White Hat Group filed many complaints with the Attorney General. Consumers also complained they paid for services the White Hat Group agreed to, but did not do. The Attorney General alleges Wicklund falsely represented his qualifications to represent them in legal matters. 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 says. “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 pay the Attorney General’s investigation costs. If Wicklund fails to comply with the judgment terms, he could pay a $50,000 penalty.
The Attorney General recommends consumers speak with a licensed attorney if they have questions about their legal rights or options. Consumers may contact the state licensing agency to make sure an attorney is licensed in the state where they need help. In Idaho, call the Idaho State Bar at (208) 334-4500 or got to www.isb.idaho.gov.
– Bob Cooper, Office of Idaho Attorney General