As noted in Westword's January 31 cover story, "The Player," before longtime scam artist Amadeus Harlan started his latest venture, Harlan21, he worked at Legal Aid National Services, Inc., or LANS Corp., a legal-aid operation in Denver that many former employees have accused of unsavory practices.
It turns out the Colorado Attorney General’s Office agrees. On Friday, the agency announced that it had filed a consumer fraud lawsuit against LANS Corp. and its founder and president, Kendrick E. White, above right. White’s wife, Jasmine Ewing, and half-brother, Derrich E. Brown, above right, were also named.
According to the lawsuit filed in Denver District Court, White and others routinely used terms like “legal aid” and purchased phone numbers across the country to make potential customer believe they were getting access to low-cost legal aid. In reality, the suit says, most received no official legal help at all. The suit alleges that the company charged clients for services that were provided by people with little or no legal training, including the preparation of documents that were so poorly done they didn’t hold up in court. Those customers got off easy, however, compared to others the suit alleges received no help at all after paying hundreds or thousands of dollars.
“With the ever-increasing cost of legal services, several companies have stepped in to offer low-cost alternatives,” said Attorney General Suthers in a written release. “In the case of LANS, we believe that the defendants preyed upon lower-income consumers with confusing business names and false promises of legal aid.”
Denver District Court Judge Robert McGahey has issued a restraining order freezing the defendants’ bank accounts and forbidding them from marketing or taking money for legal services. The suit names a variety of other Colorado corporations operated by White and his accomplices: Legal Aid National Paralegal Services Division, Inc., National Document Preparation Services, National Document Filing, National Document Service Filing. Legal Aide Divorce Services, and Ed Brown Management, Inc.
“I’m tickled to death. That’s wonderful news,” says Andrew Bottelson, LANS Corp.'s former financial manager. “I think [White] is a criminal. I think he rips people off for a living.” -- Joel Warner