The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday that it had reached settlements with the remaining defendants accused of conning consumers into paying non-existent debts, which will see more than $3 million in fines and permanent bans from the debt collection industry.
Back in February, the FTC obtained a temporary restraining order that shut down a fake debt collection scam that was said to have collected more than $4 million in payments, by threatening individuals that they would be arrested or put in prison if they did not pay their debts, alleging that consumers had committed fraud, falsely claiming to be lawyers, communicating with third parties about the status of a debt, and failing to provide the proper disclosures.
Representatives of the defendants would imply they were affiliated with a local courthouse when contacted by consumers who had received a robocall about an unpaid debt and that a legal action is about to be taken. The defendants alleged to possess private information about the consumers and that the only way to settle the debt is to make a payment over the phone using a credit or debit card.
The original group of defendants were: Global Asset Financial Services Group, LLC, GAFS Group, LLC; Regional Asset Maintenance, LLC; 10D Holdings, Inc.; Trans America Consumer Solutions, LLC; Midwestern Alliance, LLC; LLI Business Innovations, LLC; TACS I, LLC; TACS II, LLC; TACS III, LLC; Cedar Rose Holdings & Development, Inc.; and the principals of those companies — Ankh Ali, Aziza Ali, Kenneth Moody, David Carr, Jeremy Scinta, and Omar Hussain. In May, Global Asset Financial Services Group, LLC, Ankh Ali, Aziza Ali, and Kenneth Moody all reached settlements with the FTC. Yesterday’s announcement was with the remaining defendants.
In total, the settlements with the remaining defendants included judgments totaling more than $25 million, but most of that is being suspended because the defendants do not have the ability to repay it. Regional Asset Maintenance will repay $3.1 million, according to the FTC.