Expanding an already sizable lawsuit against an allegedly "massive operation" that duped consumers into paying for unnecessary technical support plans and repair services, the Federal Trade Commission added more parties to the list of defendants and claims to the many causes of action.
Last November, together with the Attorneys General of Connecticut and Pennsylvania, the FTC filed suit against multiple defendants who allegedly engaged in a tech scam. The operation began with pop-up ads and telemarketing calls implying that the defendants worked for major technology companies like Apple and Microsoft, the agency said. The next step was getting consumers on the phone and gaining remote access to their computers. At that point, the defendants would convince consumers that the computer was infected with malware or other problems, and then attempt to sell them support plans and repair services costing hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Now the Commission has added three new defendants to the case. Innovazion Research Private Limited, Abhishek Gagneja, and Rishi Gagneja were all part of the "massive operation," the FTC asserted, and played "an integral role" in the enterprise.
The amended complaint also included new charges under the Telemarketing Sales Rule against various subsets of defendants. For example, the FTC said some of the defendants engaged in credit card laundering, while others handled chargebacks and opened bank accounts on behalf of other defendants, despite knowledge that the other parties were engaged in illegal telemarketing practices.
To read the original and amended complaint in FTC v. Click4Support, click here.
Why it matters: A federal court judge in Pennsylvania granted the AGs' and FTC's request to halt the defendants' operations. With the additional defendants, the regulators are now seeking to recover some of the $17 million they said the defendants bilked consumers out of during the course of the scam, as well as a permanent injunction against future violations of the FTC Act, Telemarketing Sales Rule, and Connecticut and Pennsylvania consumer protection laws.