The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it is mailing refund checks to 4,380 individuals who were scammed by Goldman Schwartz, Inc., a collection agency that made threats and collected unauthorized fees from individuals.
The agency also went by the names Cole, Tanner & Wright and Harris County Check Recovery.
The total amount being refunded is $550,000. That works out to about $127. The $550,000 represents 28% that was paid to Goldman Schwartz by duped and threatened individuals.
Each of the individuals involved in the scam have been banned from the collection industry by the FTC.
The FTC originally had the agency shut down and froze its assets in January 2013. Among the allegations made by the FTC were:
- Falsely representing that Goldman Schwartz is a law firm and owner Gerald Wright is an attorney named Barry Schwartz.
- Falsely claiming that consumers have committed crimes by not paying their debts, will be arrested or jailed, and will lose custody of their minor children.
- Falsely claiming to be affiliated with or work in conjunction with law enforcement agencies.
- Harassing and abusing consumers by using obscene or profane language, calling repeatedly or continuously, and calling late in the evening or early in the morning.
- Adding unauthorized late fees and attorney’s fees to the amount consumers owe on their debts, and
- Failing to inform consumers of their rights to dispute the debts, have the debts verified, and obtain the names of the original creditors.