FTC Sues Bogus Debt Relief Telemarketing Operation

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has just filed a suit against Higher Goals Marketing, Sunshine Freedom Services, Brandun Anderson, Lea Brownell, Melissa Deese, Gerald Star Jr, Wayne Norris, and Travis Teel.

The complaint states the operation and individuals since July 2016 have been operating a “telemarketing scheme that defrauds financially distressed consumers by selling them bogus credit-card interest-rate-reduction services.”

I’ve noticed even I have been getting more of those damn “press 1 now to lower your credit card rate” calls. So annoying and unwanted.

According to the complaint filed the “Defendants guarantee that they will substantially and permanently lower the consumer’s credit card interest rates.”

Allegedly consumers were being asked to pay $500 to $5,000 up-front for these magical services. Fees also included “a variety of additional bank fees that can total one-to-three percent of a consumer’s credit card debt.”

The suit says, “Defendants do not directly charge consumers’ credit cards to collect their up-front fees. Instead, in many cases, they ask consumers to take a cash advance on a credit card, deposit the funds into their personal bank account, and draft a personal check to the enterprise with those funds.”

The allegations say consumers were instructed to open new credit cards with lower promotional rates that expired and increased significantly.

The FTC says Wayne Norris, who is named in this complaint, “worked for the defendants in two other cases involving the telemarketing of fraudulent debt relief services – FTC v. Life Management of Orange County and FTC v. Ambrosia Web Design.

“Defendant Norris began working with Defendant Anderson to set up Defendants’ scheme less than three weeks after this Court entered a temporary restraining order in the Life Management Services case. Mr. Norris’s substantial assistance includes organizing Defendants’ telemarketing infrastructure, assembling a management team to help start Defendants’ enterprise, and facilitating the creation of a shell company (Corporate Defendant Sunshine Freedom Services) to collect Defendants’ illegal up-front fees,” says the FTC complaint.

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It is operations like this that give good people heartburn in the debt relief industry who are working hard to really help consumers.

You can read the full complaint here.

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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