FTC Shuts Down Credit Repair Business Masquerading As The Federal Trade Commission

Fraudsters have been known to scam unsuspecting consumers by claiming to be agents with the federal government. So, in a bit of poetic justice, the Federal Trade Commission had a hand in shutting down a business calling itself the “FTC Credit Solutions.”

The (legitimate) FTC announced today that a federal court granted its request to halt the operation of the company allegedly using false connections with the Commission to market bogus credit repair services to Spanish-speaking consumers.

According to a FTC complaint [PDF], the company – along with its employees – deceived consumers in advertisements and phone calls by claiming to be affiliated with or licensed by the FTC, falsely promising that they could remove negative information from consumers’ credit reports, and guaranteeing consumers a credit score of 700 or above within six months or less.

In some instances, Guillermo Leyes, the marketing director for the company, promoted the services on the radio and in videos posted on the internet.

The pitches, which were presented in Spanish, feature Leyes boasting about his experience in credit solutions.

“Fourteen years working in banking tells you that I can help you. I was the first to come here on the radio, bringing you what is called credit restructuring. And what many ask, how are we going to remove a bankruptcy? This is impossible. How are you going to remove it? They have had to hold their tongues and say, well, we don’t know how he does it. And I am not going to tell them either. Because to do it I have not rested my brain, to do it I studied and to do it I have a license direct[ly] from the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission.”

Subsequent calls placed to the company by FTC investigators posing as consumers uncovered instances in which employees of the company routinely said the operation “works under the Federal Trade Commission, which is a law that was signed by the President in 2010.”

Employees also falsely promised that the company could “delete” and “get [the investigator] a pardon” for $19,000 in debt.

In addition to making false statements about an affiliation with the Commission, the FTC alleges that the company unlawfully charged consumers fees in advance of providing the promised credit repair service.

The company was also found to have sent false information to major credit bureaus.

According to the FTC, the company and employees, Maria Bernal, Guillermo Leyes, Jimena Perez and Fermin Campos, violated the FTC Act by misrepresenting their affiliation with the FTC and violated the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) by charging upfront fees for services.

At FTC’s Request, Court Shuts Down Credit Repair Scam That Impersonates FTC [The Federal Trade Commission]