The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said the defendants used phony debt collection calls from India and bogus claims that they would reduce consumers' credit card interest rates to bilk consumers.
Brett Fisher, a repeat offender who settled charges with the FTC in 2009 in a scam involving both advance-fee credit cards and bogus interest-rate reduction claims, masterminded both schemes, the FTC alleged.
The settlements impose a USD 25.3 million judgement against Fisher, and require other settling defendants to surrender available assets to satisfy their monetary judgements.
Defendants Pro Credit Group, LLC, Consumer Credit Group, LLC, and My Success Track, LLC, are not parties to these settlements, are not currently represented, and are facing default judgements, it said.
According to FTC between January 2010 and August 2011, defendants Fisher, Andre Keith Sanders, Pro Credit Group, LLC, and Sanders Legal Group, PA, set up US-based financial accounts for a call centre operation based in India to unfairly collect payday loan debts from consumers who either did not owe them, or owed them to somebody else.
The operation's callers used threats, lies, and abusive tactics to collect debts from consumers who had previously applied for or received loans from online payday loan companies and had supplied sensitive personal financial information that later found its way into the hands of those involved with the scam, FTC alleged.
Although numerous consumers complained to the local Better Business Bureau chapter about the abusive tactics of the callers, and many consumers tried unsuccessfully to get refunds, the defendants continued processing consumers' payments, FTC said.