FTC Takes Action against Debt Relief Operation
On February 24, the FTC announced that it charged a debt relief operation and two individuals with violations of the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). According to the FTC, the named defendants misrepresented their ability to help financially distressed homeowners and student loan borrowers modify their loans. Additionally, one of the companies involved in the debt relief operation and its owner also were charged with violations of the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) rule/ Regulation O for (i) failing to provide homeowners with disclosures during the purported loan restructure process; (ii) charging upfront fees to consumers for mortgage assistance relief services; (iii) advising homeowners to cease communication with lenders or servicers; and (iv) misrepresenting material aspects of their mortgage assistance relief services. The FTC’s February 16 complaint seeks to permanently enjoin the named defendants from future violations of the FTC Act, the TSR, and the MARS Rule/Regulation O as well as obtain redress for injured consumers through rescission or reformation of contracts, restitution, the refund of monies paid, and the disgorgement of ill-gotten monies.