LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) - Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel announced Thursday that a federal judge found the owners of a Florida company in violation of multiple telemarketing laws ordering them to pay $100,000 in civil penalties.

U.S. District Judge James Moody issued a default judgment against Antonio Helfenstine and Brenda Helfenstine, the operators of the St. Cloud, Fla.-based Financial Ladder Inc., for allegedly making deceptive robocalls to Arkansas consumers. The robocalls allegedly promised to reduce interest rates on credit cards, but the company never intended to provide permanent interest rate reductions, nor could it do more than consumers could on their own.

Moody found the defendants in violation of the Arkansas Advance Fee Loan Brokerage Act, the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, the Arkansas Consumer Telephone Privacy Act, the federal Telemarketing Sales Rules and the federal Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act.

"Not only did this company annoy Arkansas consumers through its illegal telephone marketing, it also failed to provide any assistance whatsoever to those who paid for the company's advertised services," McDaniel said. "Though Financial Ladder disguised its phone number when contacting Arkansans, our Consumer Protection Division worked to track down the individuals responsible and hold them accountable for their illegal actions."

The Helfenstines were ordered to pay $3,395.90 in consumer restitution and $4,500 in attorney fees and costs in addition to the $100,000 in civil penalties.

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