FTC: Phony Debt Collection Scheme Targeted Spanish-Speaking Consumers
A phony debt collection scheme has been shut down and its operators are banned from the debt collection and telemarketing business as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The FTC complaint claims that Centro Natural Corp., and its operators bilked millions of dollars from Spanish-speaking consumers by demanding that they pay bogus debts.
The operators of the scheme threatened victims with lawsuits, arrest and immigration status investigations if they failed to make payments on phony debts.
The settlement orders impose judgments on the defendants totaling nearly $6.8 million, which are suspended upon the transfer of about $776,000 worth of assets, including Florida real estate.
In each case, the full judgment will become due immediately if the defendant is found to have misrepresented his or her financial condition.
The order against relief defendant Allianza Inmobiliaria imposes a $172,000 judgment against the company.