CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on Wednesday that, along with six other states and the Federal Trade Commission, a settlement has been reached with a bank processing company.
Derrelle Janey, who served as president of Florida-based Your Money Access LLC from 2003-2006, YMA, YMA Company LLC, and Tarzenea Dixon, the former CEO of YMA, were all named in the original complaint. They are alleged to have debited more than $200 million from bank accounts.
Madigan, the FTC and state attorneys general from Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Vermont alleged that the defendants helped its clients extract money from consumers' bank accounts.
The company allegedly orchestrated an elaborate scheme where its employees processed unauthorized debits on behalf of deceptive telemarketers. They also allegedly used Internet-based schemes to violate both the Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule.
"These defendants were part of a scheme to deceive consumers and take their money," Madigan said. "They processed charges that consumers often never authorized, and the products and services peddled by these telemarketers often turned out to be bogus."
Telemarketers representing the company allegedly peddled government grant information, identity theft protection and prescription discount plans through cold calls. They then sought bank account information, which they would pass on to the defendants to complete the debit, Madigan says.
From June 23, 2004-March 31, 2006, YMA allegedly processed more than $200 million in debits and attempted debits, with more than $69 million of the attempted debits returned or rejected by consumers and banks, indicating consumers never authorized the charges. Many of these instances had merchants failing to deliver on the promised products or services or just sending worthless products, Madigan says.
Janey was the last of the four defendants to settle. Default judgments were previously reached against YMA and YMA Company. Dixon also reached a settlement.
Under terms of the agreement, Janey is banned from ever participating in debiting from consumer accounts again and must not aid in any further violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rule.
Although a $625,000 judgment was ordered against Janey, he is only required to pay $15,000, which will go to the U.S. Treasury. The court suspended the rest due to the defendant's financial dire straits. The suspension may be lifted, however, if the court finds that Janey was untruthful about his current finances.