A federal court on Thursday halted a telemarketing scheme that duped senior citizens by pretending to be part of Medicare and took millions of dollars from consumers' bank accounts without consent.
The Federal Trade Commission charged the defendants with violating the FTC Act and the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule. The defendants include: Sun Bright Ventures LLC, Citadel ID Pro LLC and Benjamin Todd Workman. The FTC named Trident Consulting Partners LLC and Glenn Erickson as relief defendants who profited from the scheme.
The defendants allegedly misrepresented that they were working on behalf of Medicare. They said they needed to verify consumers identities using personal information that included their bank account numbers and would provide a new Medicare card or information about benefits. The defendants allegedly assured consumers that the information would not be used to debit their bank accounts, and that there was no charge for the new Medicare card or information about Medicare benefits.
However, within a few weeks, consumers learned their bank accounts had been debited either $399 or $448 via remotely created checks, the complaint alleges. Despite these charges, consumers did not receive any kind of product or service from the defendants. In some cases, the defendants debited the accounts of consumers they had not even contacted.
The FTC seeks to permanently end the operation and return the money to the victims.