The final six of 10 defendants named in an alleged "Rachel from Cardholder Services" scam have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that they misled consumers with bogus claims that they would lower their credit card interest rates.
The FTC settlement bans Emory L. "Jack" Holley IV, Lisa Miller, and the remaining corporate defendants from telemarketing and marketing debt relief services or assisting others in such conduct, prohibits them from misrepresenting any products or services, and imposes a partially suspended $11.9 million judgment.
The FTC filed its complaint in this matter in October 2012, alleging that the defendants violated Section 5 of the FTC Act and the agency's Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR) by charging illegal up-front fees during telemarketing calls in which they made false promises to reduce the interest rate on consumers' credit cards and save them thousands of dollars.
In the complaint, the FTC also charged the defendants with making other misrepresentations, such as claiming that consumers who bought their services would be able to pay off their debts much faster as a result of the lowered credit card interest rates and making false claims about their refund policies.
The other four Key One defendants agreed to settle the FTC charges against them in June of this year. They allegedly defendants participated in the scheme by opening merchant and bank accounts in their names for processing consumer payments obtained in connection with the deceptive sales of credit card interest rate-reduction and by providing substantial assistance, such as web pages, mail drops, customer service, and shipping of CDs with general debt and other financial information to consumers.
Under the settlement announced today, Emory L. "Jack" Holley, Lisa Miller, and the companies they control, will be permanently banned from all telemarketing, with extremely limited exceptions to allow them to engage in legitimate business activities. The settlement also bans the defendants from advertising, marketing, promoting, offering for sale, or selling any debt relief-related products or services. Several of the defendants are repeat offenders, and this ban will permanently stop them from preying on consumers in financial distress.
The final order also prohibits the six defendants from making any misrepresentations related to any financial product or service, and requires them to substantiate any claims they make to consumers in the future about the potential benefits or effectiveness of any product or service. Finally, the order imposes a partially suspended judgment of $11.9 million jointly against the corporate and individual defendants. The defendants' assets will be paid to the Commission.