When you’ve make a promise to no longer defraud consumers, you might want to stick to that promise. Otherwise, like two Florida businessmen, you could be on the hook for $14.75 million.
The Federal Trade Commission announced Monday that a U.S. district court in Florida issued a contempt order against Byron Wolf and Roy Eliasson for continuing to operate a scheme defrauding consumers. The duo has been ordered to pay $14.75 million, the same amount they alledgedly scammed from consumers.
Wolf and Eliasson were found in violation of a December 2008 permanent injunction and final order that barred them from making a range of misrepresentations to consumers, billing consumers without their authorization, and failing to make required disclosures in future business endeavors.
The FTC reports that within months of the 2008 settlement, in which Wolf and Eliasson paid $11 million, the duo had devised a new plan to defraud consumers through Membership Services, LLC.
In the scheme, they used deceptive phone and internet solicitations to target recent loan applicants and misled them into believing they would provide them with cash advances, loans, or lines of credit.
According to the court, while the defendants sent messages to consumers communicating they had been “approved” for a loan, none of them ever received a loan. Instead, many of their bank accounts were debited $49.95 or more a month after they provided their financial information to the defendants.
The 2008 settlement came after the FTC sued Suntasia Marketing, Inc., for deceptively marketing negative-option programs to consumers. The company allegedly defrauded consumers and charged their bank accounts without their consent for a variety of programs, including membership in discount buyer’s and travel clubs.
The FTC’s announcement Monday highlights the agency’s commitment to monitoring every order of compliance, and quickly dealing with those that do no follow settlement agreements.
Court Finds Telemarketers In Contempt; Imposes $14.75 Million Judgement [Federal Trade Commission]