A federal district court in Chicago shut down an international robocall ring that allegedly conned consumers out of $995 each with false promises to reduce their credit card interest rates.

The Federal Trade Commission had charged that the robocall ring made bogus promises that it would provide refunds to consumers if they did not save at least $2,500. When consumers called to complain, the robocallers simply disappeared, the FTC charged. The FTC alleges the company defrauded nearly 13,000 consumers out of almost $13 million from the scheme.

According to the FTC, since at least 2007, the defendants allegedly used at least 10 different company names - including AFL Financial Services - when pitching the service.

The defendants, based in Toronto, and the Rochester, N.Y. area, operated two telemarketing boiler rooms in Orlando, Fla. They employed illegal robocalls to contact consumers, and then claimed that for $995 they would substantially reduce credit card interest rates and enable consumers to get out of debt three to five times faster. They also falsely suggested that the savings from the lower interest rates would pay for the service.

The FTC complaint charged that the misrepresentations violated the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and the FTC Act, and that the defendants called consumers whose numbers are on the National Do Not Call Registry.

Last week, Judge Joan H. Lefkow entered a temporary restraining order with an asset freeze, halting the defendants’ operations pending trial and appointing a receiver over the two United States corporate defendants.

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