Operation That Illegally Debited Consumers’ Bank Accounts Must Repay $43M

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Months after federal regulators ordered a data broker to pay $7.1 million for selling consumers’ sensitive information to scammers, a court ordered one of those alleged scammers and its subsidiaries and operators to provide $43 million in relief to victims.

The Federal Trade Commission announced today that a federal district court banned [PDF] seven individuals, Ideal Financial Solutions, and its subsidiaries from collecting or disclosing consumer information.

According to the FTC, which filed a lawsuit [PDF] against the company in 2013, the defendants operated a massive scam that took more than $25 million from consumers’ bank accounts without their authorization.

Ideal Solutions allegedly bought loan applications, including Social Security and bank account numbers, from data brokers —  Sequoia One LLC and Gen X Marketing Group LLC, which were previously sued by the FTC and ordered to pay $7.1 million  — for about $0.50 each.

Instead of using the information to provide consumers with payday loans, the company used it for its own financial gain.

According to the FTC’s complaint, Ideal Financial Solutions targeted financially vulnerable consumers who had never come in contact with them, and without authorization debited their bank accounts and charged their credit cards, usually for about $30.

While the FTC essentially put a stop to the scheme with its lawsuit in 2013, a federal district court last month imposed a $43 million judgment against Ideal Solutions, Steven Sunyich, Christopher Sunyich, Michael Sunyich, and Melissa Sunyich Gardner, and a $36,575,542 judgment against Jared Mosher.

Additionally, the court banned the scheme ringleaders, Jared Mosher, Steven Sunyich and Christopher Sunyich, from marketing, from selling and handling any credit-related products or services.

Previously, two operators, Kent Brown and Shawn Sunyich, entered into settlements that banned them from placing unauthorized charges on consumer financial accounts and collecting and disclosing consumer information without consent. The orders also imposed a suspended $25 million judgement against each man.

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