FTC Fines Company $10M For Achieving A Trifecta Of Annoyance: Mobile Cramming, Spam Texts And Robocalls

There are few things worse than getting incessant robocalls. Unless you’re getting robocalls, spam text messages and being charged for mobile cramming. The Federal Trade Commission says all of those horrible, terrible, no-good, very-bad elements were part of a massive scam affecting millions of consumers. And now the companies in charge of the alleged scam are paying a hefty penalty: $10 million.

The FTC announced today that three groups of defendants will pay approximately $10 million to settle charges that they operated a scam in which millions of consumers received unwanted text messages and later became victims of illegal robocalls, phone “free” merchandise offers and unauthorized charges crammed on their mobile phone bills.

According to the complaint, the alleged scam began when the company sent consumers text messages with links to a website that led consumers through processes designed to get consumers’ personal information for sale to marketers, their mobile phone numbers to cram unwanted charges on their bill, and to drive consumers to paid subscriptions for which the scammers received affiliate referral fees.

The first set of defendants settling charges with the FTC include Acquinity Interactive, LLC; 7657030 Canada Inc., Garry Jonas, Gregory Van Horn, Revenue Path E-Consulting Pvt, Ltd.; Revenuepath Ltd.; and Sarita Somani.

Under their settlement the group must pay the FTC $7.8 million for their part in sending millions of illegal text messages, making deceptive claims about “free” merchandise, being responsible for unauthorized charges on mobile phone bills, and assisting and facilitating the sending of illegal robocalls.

A second group of defendants includes Burton Katz, individually and also doing business as Polling Associates Inc. and Boomerang International, LLC, and Jonathan Smyth, individually and also doing business as Polling Associates Inc.

The group must pay the FTC $1.4 million to settle allegations that they were responsible for cramming unauthorized charges on consumers’ mobile phone bills.

The third group of defendants will have an $8 million judgement suspended by the FTC for inability to pay, after they turn over available assets including a 2013 Cadillac Escalade, motorcycles, and life insurance policies.

The group, which includes Firebrand Group S.L., LLC, Worldwide Commerce Associates, LLC, and Matthew Beucler, allegedly made millions of illegal robocalls.

Under each settlement the groups have been banned from continuing to facilitate the illegal practices.

Defendants in Massive Spam Text Message, Robocalling and Mobile Cramming Scheme to Pay $10 Million to Settle FTC Charges [FTC]

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