On July 12, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement with two Florida-based companies and their CEO, resolving allegations that the companies aided a student debt relief scam by providing false or deceptive information in order to obtain merchant processing for the scheme. The settlement will permanently bar the two companies and their CEO from offering payment-processing services, and imposes a partially-suspended monetary judgment of $28.6 million.
The FTC’s complaint alleged that the companies and the CEO submitted payment processing applications that concealed the scheme, and ignored warnings and evidence the scheme was defrauding consumers and violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). In addition to barring the companies and the CEO from payment processing, it also bars them from acting as a sales agent or independent sales organization and from facilitating unfair and deceptive trade practices. The settlement imposes a $28.6 million judgment upon the companies and CEO, which will be suspended due to an inability to pay after the companies and CEO pay $20,493.