More Robocallers in Rate-Reduction Scams Shut Down by FTC

More Robocallers in Rate-Reduction Scams Shut Down by FTCThe Federal Trade Commission has shut down two more robocalling operations that focused on peddling reductions in credit card interest rates.
The companies agreed to settle charges that they used pre-recorded calls to trick consumers into paying huge, upfront fees before providing any service — a violation of consumer protection laws.
Under separate proposed settlements, operators behind Treasure Your Success and Ambrosia Web Design will be banned from telemarketing and delivering robocalls, the FTC said.
They also will be permanently prohibited from advertising, marketing, promoting, or offering for sale any debt relief product or service, or assisting others in doing so.
The FTC filed the initial cases against the operators of both companies in 2012 as part of a multi-agency crackdown on outfits that make millions of illegal “Rachel” robocalls pitching credit card rate-reduction services.
Treasure Your Success
In its original complaint against Treasure Your Success, the FTC alleged that the defendants tricked consumers into paying up-front fees for as much as $1,593, using deceptive offers of reducing the rates on the consumers’ credit cards.
The complaint named Willy Plancher and Valbona Toska, as well as their three companies, WV Universal Management, Global Financial Assist, and Leading Production.
In November 2012, at the FTC’s request, a federal court halted the scheme and froze the defendants’ assets pending further court proceedings. The FTC later amended its complaint to include new defendants and additional counts.
In addition to the other provisions of the settlement, the proposed order holds the defendants liable for $2,032,626, based on the amount of consumer injury in the case.
Due to the inability of the individual defendants to pay redress, the monetary judgment has been suspended.  However, if the defendants misstate or fail to disclose any of their material assets, the full amount of the judgment will be immediately due and payable.
The case against Treasure Your Success was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division.  Litigation continues against: HES Merchant Services Company, Business First Solutions, VoiceOnyx Corp., Hal E. Smith, Jonathon E. Warren, Ramon Sanchez-Ortega, Universal Processing Services of Wisconsin, and Derek Depuydt.
Ambrosia Web Design
According to the FTC’s complaint, Ambrosia Web Design operators delivered pre-recorded calls that urged consumers to “press one” if they were interested in credit card interest rate reduction services.
The scheme operators often deceived consumers into thinking that they were affiliated with a government program.
If consumers agreed to sign up, the telemarketer got their credit card information, often charging an illegal advance fee before providing any service, the FTC alleged.
The FTC alleged that Ambrosia typically failed to deliver on their promises. In addition, the FTC charged defendants with failing to disclose their purported no-refund/no cancellation policy and billing some consumers without their authorization.
In June 2013, the FTC amended its original complaint to add charges of credit card laundering in violation of the agency’s Telemarketing Sales Rule.
According to the FTC, the defendants laundered credit card payments by processing them for other telemarketers through the Ambrosia defendants’ own merchant accounts; and arranging for other merchants to process credit card payments for the defendants through their accounts.
The proposed settlement requires the defendants to liquidate virtually all of their assets, including a valuable watch and a sports memorabilia collection.  It also includes a judgment of $8.3 million, which will be suspended if defendants comply with the terms of the settlement.
The settlement resolves the FTC’s charges against: 1) Ambrosia Web Design, LLC, also doing business as AWD; 2) Concord Financial Advisors LLC; 3) CAM Services Direct LLC; 4) AFB LLC; 5) Western GPS LLC; 6) Chris Ambrosia, individually and as a manager of Ambrosia Web Design LLC and CAM Services Direct LLC; and 6) LeRoy Castine, also known as Lee Castine, individually and as a manager of Ambrosia Web Design LLC, Concord Financial Advisors LLC, AFB LLC, and Western GPS LLC.
The case against Ambrosia Web Design was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *