A Broomfield, Colorado company that misled consumers nationwide into believing it was a legitimate law firm has been permanently shut down by Denver District Judge Herbert Stern.In addition, Stern ordered the company, Legal Aid, also known as Legal Aid US, and owner Daniel R. Ketelsen to pay $238,406 in restitution to consumers. Judge Stern also added $100,000 in civil penalties for a total damage award of $338,406.
The companies, which were touted by Ketelsen over the Internet, required up-front payments of $399 to $1,000 from about 400 consumers. For “rush” legal services, the company increased the fee by as much as $300. According to investigators from the Colorado attorney general’s office, Ketelsen and his employees were not lawyers.
Only after Ketelsen and Legal Aid received money from consumers via credit card or MoneyGram did they send a written agreement that disclosed to the clients that they were not attorneys and did not represent consumers in court.
If you are retaining a Colorado attorney to represent you, take a few moments to determine the status of his/her license to practice law. Click here to search for an attorney’s disciplinary history. An attorney must have a status of “active” and in good standing in order to practice law within the state of Colorado.