On February 23, the FTC announced that it had reached a settlement with the final defendant facing charges originally brought against six mortgage relief operations in 2014. The FTC had alleged that the defendants preyed on distressed homeowners by claiming to be able to lower mortgage payments and interest rates or prevent foreclosures, while illegally charging advance fees. The stipulated order requires the defendant to pay $105,487, which represents the amount of money he received from the scam, and imposes a total judgment of more than $1.7 million which will become due immediately if it is found that the defendant misrepresented his finances. The defendant was also banned from the mortgage and debt relief business. Certain other defendants reached settlements in 2016, which, in addition to imposing a judgment of more than $1.7 million, also prohibited them from participating in the mortgage and debt relief business.