The operators of a fraudulent debt collecting scheme have settled Federal Trade Commission charges against them by agreeing to be banned from the debt collection business and telemarketing.
The defendants were named in an FTC complaint last year, which alleged that they collected millions of dollars from Spanish-speaking consumers throughout the country by demanding they pay non-existent debts. The various companies and individuals were said to have been threatening their victims with lawsuits and arrest and immigration status investigations if they did not agree to make payments on the falsified debts.
The settlement orders that the fraudulent company and related defendants are permanently prohibited from making the alleged misrepresentations as well as any material representations about any product or service. The defendants are also barred from selling or benefiting from their customer’s personal information, and banned from collecting debts or telemarketing.
Judgments against the defendants total almost $6.8 million, which are suspended upon the transfer of approximately $776,000 in assets. However, if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial situations, the judgment will immediately become due in full. One corporation, named a relief dependent that profited from the scheme, was given a judgment of $172,000.
The Commission voted unanimously, 5-0 to file the orders for permanent injunction. The final orders will have the force of law when signed by the District Court judge where they were filed, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.