The operators of a bogus credit repair scheme that allegedly tricked Spanish-speaking consumers into paying thousands of dollars each to improve their credit will be banned from offering credit repair services and are subject to a monetary judgment under settlements with the Federal Trade Commission.
The defendants did business using the name FTC Credit Solutions, misleading consumers not only about the nature of the alleged credit repair services they offered, but also claiming an affiliation with the FTC that did not exist, according to a federal court complaint filed in March.
The FTC alleged that the defendants First Time Credit Solution Corp., Guillermo Leyes, Jimena Perez, Fermin Campos and Maria Bernal violated the FTC Act by claiming to be affiliated with or licensed by the FTC, falsely promising they could remove negative information from consumers credit reports and guaranteeing consumers a credit score of 700 or above within six months or less.
The FTC also alleged the defendants violated the Credit Repair Organizations Act by making these misrepresentations and charging consumers up front for credit repair services.
"These defendants were shameless. They scammed consumers who were in need of financial help and used the good name of the Federal Trade Commission to do so," said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTCs Bureau of Consumer Protection. "Im pleased these defendants will be kept away from this business for good."Under the terms of two settlements, the four individual defendants will be subject to a monetary judgment of $2.4 million. Leyes will be responsible for the full amount of the judgment.
In the cases of Perez, Campos and Bernal, the judgment will be partially suspended because of their inability to pay. The defendants will be required to surrender the money in their bank accounts.
The settlements permanently bar the defendants from selling or advertising credit repair services to consumers and from deceiving consumers about any good or service they are selling. The settlements also bar the defendants from selling or otherwise benefitting from customers' personal information.