RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A California debt settlement firm accused of defrauding two North Carolinians out of more than $2,400 apiece has been permanently banned from doing business in the state, Attorney General Josh Stein said Thursday.

Special Superior Court Judge William Pittman issued the ban against Michael Grinnell and his businesses, Amstar Services and Home Relief Services, in a ruling last week.

Grinnell and the businesses were accused of collecting customers’ fees but failing to perform the services promised — such as reducing mortgage payments, obtaining loan forbearance and preventing foreclosure.

Stein said two people from the state paid $2,400 for services they never received.

“This defendant took advantage of hardworking North Carolinians who were trying to do the right thing and find responsible solutions to pay off financial loans and keep their homes,” Stein said. “He broke the law, and I’m pleased that he won’t be able to operate his debt settlement companies in North Carolina ever again.”