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Telemarketing Fraudsters Ordered to Pay $6M+

September 25, 2017
By Paula Bernier - Executive Editor, TMC

The Federal Trade Commission has been busy working on a case that involves a telemarketing scheme that preyed on Spanish speaking consumers. In August, a federal court, at the FTC’s (News - Alert) request, levied a fine of more than $6 million on those involved, permanently banned them for engaging in telemarketing, and told them to destroy all customer information they’ve captured to date.

The organizations charged with violating the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule include ABC Hispana Inc., ISB Latino Inc., ABC Latina, LLC, Gonzalo Ricardo Bazán Jiménez and Milagros Raquel Urmeneta. They were ordered to pay $6, 315,023 within 7 days of the August decision. That money, the order explained, would go into a FTC fund that will be used to redress victims of the scam and to pay for administration activities related to the redress process.

According to the FTC, those named above set up telemarketing operations in Peru to reach out to Spanish-speaking consumers in the United States. The problem is these callers presented fake caller IDs, which appeared as emergency responders or personal references, to get people to answer their phones. The callers sold lousy or nonexistent products. And if consumers didn’t want to buy what was offered, or cancelled a delivery after an interaction, callers would say they were going to get law enforcement involved or make other threats. Sometimes callers would even go on to make threats to victims’ relatives.

The FTC’s complaint explained that “the defendants sold booklets, CDs, DVDs, tablets and a Spanish-English dictionary, and threatened to sue, arrest or jail consumers, or seize their homes, if they didn’t pay. They pretended to be affiliated with the government, centro de ayuda (non-governmental ‘help center’), well-known companies such as Walmart, or a Spanish-language radio station.”

Edited by Mandi Nowitz

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