North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has secured a court order against Advantage Debt Solutions Inc., a Charlotte-based company that he says was part of an illicit debt relief scheme. The firm allegedly charges consumers upfront fees equal to 15 percent of their total debt but rarely provides any debt relief or refunds customers who cancel the programs and attempt to recoup their money. Consumers in North Carolina, which bars upfront fees for debt settlement services, forked out more than $140,000 to Advantage Debt Solutions, while out-of-state customers paid an estimated $1 million to the company. "Outfits that promise debt relief for an upfront fee most often end up driving consumers even deeper into debt," according to Cooper. "Thanks to North Carolina's strong laws, we're able to take action to stop these harmful schemes." A judge's order upholds Cooper's request to temporarily prevent Advantage Debt Solutions and its owner, Anthony Krysinski, from offering debt negotiation or adjustment services in the state. The AG hopes to permanently end these activities and win refunds for affected consumers as part of a lawsuit against the company and its owner.