On July 8, 2015, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that settlements were approved against companies and individuals who allegedly operated a fraudulent debt collection scheme that targeted Spanish-speaking consumers. According to the complaint, the defendants cold called Spanish-speaking consumers nationwide, and falsely held themselves out to be government officials seeking to collect a debt when, in fact, no debt was owed. These actions allegedly violated Section 5 of the FTC Act, Section 807 of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule. Under the four settlement orders, the defendants who allegedly perpetrated the scheme are banned from debt collection activities, telemarketing, and from making any material misreprsentations about products and services. These defendants, along with other defendants who allegedly profitted from the scheme, are also prohibited from selling customers’ personal information. All total, the judgments against the various defendants are roughly $6.8 million, which are suspended upon the transfer of about $776,000 in assets, provided that the defendants have thuthfully represented their financial condition. The money will be used by the FTC for consumer redress.
Blog Enforcement Watch July 09, 2015