Special to HNN Provided by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine  announced a lawsuit against a Central Ohio consultant accused of using the fees she charged her clients for her personal benefit. 

The lawsuit accuses Kelly S. McElravey, who operated Disability Ohio Assistance, LLC, of pocketing at least $22,000 in client fees that were supposed to be used for disability retirement benefit applications. 

Consumers complained that instead of receiving help to apply for disability retirement benefits from their public pension plans, McElravey missed filing deadlines, lied or failed to provide information about the status of their applications, and did not respond to their complaints. 

The Ohio Attorney General's Office received 10 complaints from consumers but believe other consumers may be unaware of issues with McElravey's business.  

The lawsuit, filed in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, accuses McElravey of violating Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act. She faces five counts: unfair, deceptive or unconscionable representations; failure to deliver services; failure to disclose the business's precarious financial situation; evading contractual obligations and failure to provide adequate customer service; and, failing to maintain and return confidential customer records.  

The lawsuit seeks restitution for consumers, an end to any violations of Ohio consumer protection laws, and civil penalties.

Attorney General DeWine urges consumers to do their research before signing contracts or paying fees. Consumers should check both the company name and the name of the owner or individuals involved with the operation, as some operators change business names regularly to make it harder for consumers to find them.

To research a company, search for complaints on file with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau, check business filings with the Ohio Secretary of State, conduct internet searches, and check court websites for legal action.

Consumers should report potential scams to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or by calling 800-282-0515.