Court order shuts down Prattville attorney’s debt settlement operation

Alabama Securities Commission - File photo
Alabama Securities Commission - File photo

Montgomery, AL – One of the largest debt settlement schemes in the nation, which had been operated by a Prattville attorney, has been permanently shut down, according to the Attorney General’s Office in Montgomery today.

Autauga County Circuit Judge Ben Fuller issued a permanent injunction to stop deceptive and illegal activities by Keith Anderson Nelms and his companies, Allegro Law LLC and Allegro Financial Services LLC.

The Court’s summary judgment ruling establishes a permanent receiver and makes provisions for the receiver to protect and recover remaining resources for the benefits of the companies’ clients. Approximately $12 million in assets will be held for about 15,000 Allegro customers nationwide, of which about 175 are Alabama residents.

Seven months ago, Attorney General Troy King and Alabama Securities Commission Director Joe Borg filed a lawsuit which halted operations and froze the defendants’ assets. At that time the court reviewed allegations regarding Allegro’s unlicensed business, its ineffectiveness in reducing the debts of its clients, and its false representation of the services provided.

The Court’s ruling now permanently prohibits Allegro and Nelms from engaging in any further deceptive trade practices and from operating a debt settlement or debt management business in Alabama.

“Now the Court has put an end to Allegro Law’s illegal operation, and has stopped it from continuing to exploit the clients it purported to serve,” King said. “People who were in desperate circumstances came to Allegro for help, and instead they suffered greater harm. With this ruling, Allegro will not be allowed to cause further damage, and steps are being taken to restore as much money as possible to the victims whose trust was betrayed.”

“My office will not permit any person or business to operate massive scams within our state,” continued King.

Borg also offered advice for Alabama consumers.

“Before any Alabamian enters into a contract with a debt resolution company, check their license with the Alabama Securities Commission’s Registration Office (800-222-1253) to make sure they are licensed as required under Alabama law and be certain you fully understand what the terms of the contract are,” he said.

Internet records indicate that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) revoked accreditation on Allegro Law, LLC September 4, 2009. Reasons given were: failure to eliminate the underlying cause of complaints on file with the BBB, recent government action involving the business’s customer relations, which indicates a significant failure of the business to meet standards of conduct expected by a BBB member, engaging in activities reflecting poorly on the BBB or its members, and failure to maintain maximum BBB rating.

Nelms is a resident of Montgomery whose law practice and financial services company were located in Prattville. After some of his activities came under scrutiny by the Alabama Bar Association, he pleaded guilty to violating numerous rules of professional conduct and was suspended from the practice of law in Alabama.

Article by Melissa Parker

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