Bryan Cohen Sep. 4, 2013, 7:08pm

PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced a $250,939.01 settlement Tuesday with two Arizona telemarketing companies to resolve allegations of consumer fraud related to a credit card debt reduction scheme.

National Bankcard Monitor LLC, Financial Interest Strategies LLC and their owner Gino Niccoli allegedly violated Arizona telemarketing statutes between April 2010 and November by failing to register with the Secretary of State, obtain a $100,000 bond and provide consumers with notice of cancellation rights and important disclosures. The companies operated a telemarketing business selling credit card debt reduction services while taking money from thousands of consumers around the nation.

"Customers complained that the telemarketers pretended to be affiliated with their credit card companies and made a money-back guarantee that they would lower their interest rates on their credit cards." Horne said. "The companies' real product was merely an accelerated payoff plan, recommending that customers pay off their highest interest debts first."

Consumers allegedly paid $1,499 for a service to negotiate lower credit card interest rates and/or obtain low interest rate credit cards to transfer their balances. While consumers received a guaranteed savings of $2,000 to $5,000 in interest and finance charges, the savings allegedly resulted from a computer generated payment plan that told consumers they could save money by consistently paying off their highest interest rate debts.

In addition to the monetary judgment, the defendants were found to have violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. They were permanently barred from operating or owning a telemarketing business in Arizona.

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