The Federal Trade Commission cracked the whip of justice mightily Thursday in announcing fines and restitution totaling $44 million against two debt relief organizations that were using automatic dialers to solicit consumers.
The two groups — Advanced Management Services NW LLC and Dynamic Financial Group, and their various operating units and DBAs – not only ran a fraudulent service which saw none of their customers get the super-awesome debt relief they were promised, but they also committed the sin of using auto dialers to call numbers that were on the Do-Not-Call list.
Advanced Management, and several co-defendants, allegedly charged consumers up to $1,590 to reduce their interest rates, and promised a refund if they failed to deliver at least $2,500 in interest-rate savings. Advanced Management then just sent the consumers instructions to pay down their credit card debts early to save money on interest, according to the FTC.
For that, the FTC shut down Advanced Management and all of its associated entities, barred them from ever engaging in debt relief marketing again, and fined them $21.9 million, an amount the FTC says is equal to what the scam took in. But the fine will be suspended when the defendants surrender “virtually all of their assets,” including luxury cars, ATVs, a boat, and some pretty sweet jet skis.
In the other case, Dynamic Financial Group is accused of pretty much the same thing as Advanced Marketing, although the FTC says it didn’t even send consumers anything in return for their money. In that case, some $21.6 million in fines and penalties were levied, although most of that will be suspended when certain assets are handed over.