Federal court halts alleged phone debt relief operation at request of FTC

By Mark Iandolo | Jun 2, 2017

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced May 23 that a federal court has temporarily halted an alleged phony debt relief operation that duped financially strapped consumers out of tens of millions of dollars. The purported scheme focused much of its efforts on scamming the elderly and the disabled.

The alleged scheme was run by Jeremy Lee Marcus, Craig Davis Smith and Yisbet Segrea, through 11 companies. These defendants purportedly promised consumers they would pay, settle or obtain dismissals of consumers’ debts and improve their credit. According to the FTC, consumers would pay the defendants hundreds or thousands of dollars a month only to receive no help.

The FTC charged Marcus, Smith, Segrea and their companies with violating the FTC Act, the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, and Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Assisting in the case are Florida’s Office of the Attorney General, as well as the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Iowa’s Office of the Attorney General, Ohio’s Office of the Attorney General, Minnesota’s Office of the Attorney General, the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida, and the Broward County Sherriff’s Office.

The FTC voted 2-0 to approve the complaint.

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