• On March 29, 2011, the FTC obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO) in its lawsuit against several affiliated Las Vegas-based companies and the companies’ operators Michael Bruce Moneymaker and Daniel De La Cruz. The defendants are accused of running online websites that defrauded payday loan applicants of hundreds of dollars each. The TRO stems from a complaint, filed a day earlier, alleging that the defendants used information gathered from the payday loan websites to debit the applicants’ accounts for worthless or non-existent services. The FTC further alleges the defendants took initial enrollment fees of between $8.42 to $499.00 from consumers, and then continued to assess recurring weekly or monthly fees ranging from $8.42 to $19.98. The TRO blocks the defendants from further violations and freezes their assets. The lawsuit was filed under seal to allow the FTC to freeze the defendants’ assets but was unsealed this week. FTC v. Moneymaker, et al., Docket No. 2:11-cv-00561 (D. Nev., filed Mar. 28, 2011).
  • The FTC will host a forum on May 11, 2011, in Washington, DC to examine how the government, businesses, and consumer protection organizations can work together to prevent consumers from receiving unauthorized third-party charges on their phone bills — a practice known as “cramming”. The forum, which will be held at the FTC’s satellite building conference center, will be open to the public. The FTC invites interested parties to submit comments on cramming prevention through the FTC’s online comment form no later than April 27, 2011. The FTC’s Press Release on the Cramming Forum can be found here. Comments can be submitted to the FTC here.