CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced on Thursday that he filed a lawsuit against two attorneys accused of “duping” state residents.

According to the lawsuit, Frank Kucera and Marilyn Thomassen are California attorneys who have specialized in debt relief since 2014.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants charged four people with “a wide range of unlawful fees.” Attorney General Morrisey says the defendants ended communication when those consumers discontinued legal services. The attorneys then allegedly failed to settle customer accounts and refused to return “tens of thousands of dollars to their clients.”

According to Attorney General Morrisey, debt relief is a legal plan for customers to pay a fee to settle outstanding credit card debts. Consumers are told to make monthly payments to a debt settlement company while the money is held in trust accounts to be negotiated.

The four consumers involved in the lawsuit allege the defendants could not settle all their debt payments and then failed to return the money sent for payment.

Attorney General Morrisey says neither lawyer was licensed to practice in West Virginia. The Attorney General also says Kucera’s California law license is currently suspended. Both attorneys allegedly have business addresses in California.

“As I have mentioned numerous times in the past on similar instances, those who breach the trust of consumers in West Virginia have no place in our state,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Above all, those who are thinking of doing business in the state should follow our consumer protection laws because if not, our office will vigorously investigate, and if necessary litigate, any violation.”

The lawsuit asks the Circuit Court of Mineral County to require the attorneys to give back all payments to the four consumers (over $40,000) with $5,000 for each violation of West Virginia’s Consumer Credit Protection Act.

The Attorney General says “there are other victims who may become known during the course of this litigation.”

Anyone who believes they are a scam victim can call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at (800) 368-8808 or visit the office online.