On December 14, the Florida Attorney General (AG) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a $23 million federal district court judgment against the owner of an Orlando-based “robocall” operation. The massive robocall operation tricked consumers into paying upfront fees of $500 to $1500 for false credit card interest-rate-reduction and debt-elimination services, allegedly causing $23 million in consumer harm.
The settlement follows litigation filed in June 2016 alleging that the owner and 19 other defendants operated an illegal robocall scheme in violation of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 53(b), the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a), and the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 6101-6108. The Orlando federal district court judge temporarily enjoined the operation in 2016. Settlements with the remaining 19 defendants are pending court approval.
In addition to imposing a $23 million judgment, the order of the Middle District of Florida permanently bans the owner from telemarketing and selling any debt-relief products or services. The owner is also required to surrender luxury cars, watches, jet skis, rifles, bank accounts, and proceeds from the sale of a 55-foot yacht.
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