More than $5.4 million will be mailed to consumers and businesses who were victimized by a massive fraudulent operation that placed unwanted charges on their telephone bills.

The Federal Trade Commission stopped the scam in 2010. The operation was led by an internet services company known as Inc21. The company enlisted a number of third-party billing aggregators to place charges on  phone bills.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the defendants in the case - Inc21, Jumpage Solutions Inc., GST U.S.A. Inc., Roy Yu Lin and John Yu Lin - to be permanently shut down. They further were ordered at that time to pay nearly $38 million in restitution.

The victims in most cases were either never contacted by the company, were deceived about why they had been contacted, or in fact declined the services for which they were eventually billed.  

The FTC’s Criminal Liaison Unit cooperated with criminal law enforcement partners at the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, and United States Postal Inspection Service, leading to the prosecution and conviction of Inc21's owners.  

Consumers who receive the checks from the FTC’s refund administrator should deposit or cash them within 60 days of the mailing date.  The average amount of the refunds will be approximately $39, however amounts will vary based on how much money was lost.

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