Florida companies shut down, accused of scamming thousands

Author: wink news
Published: Updated:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For the second time in two weeks, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Federal Trade Commission have filed a federal court lawsuit to protect consumers from a credit card interest rate reduction scam.

This time, Bondi and the FTC halted a Pinellas County-based group of businesses and individuals from operating a nationwide telemarketing scam that defrauded consumers out of at least $8.5 million.

“The joint efforts of my office and the FTC have stopped these scammers that stole millions of dollars from consumers through debt relief telemarketing scams, deliberately taking advantage of their trust and their financial struggles,” said Bondi.

The scammers operated under a variety of phony business names, including: Applied Budgeting, Bigger Budget, Competitive Budgeting, Complete Budgeting, Conserved Budgeting, Consigned Savings, Containing Expenses, Debt Smart Solutions, Decisive Budgeting, Efficient Budgeting, Insightful Budgeting, Intuitive Budgeting, Less Costly Living, Living Competitively, Lowered Expenses, Prepared Budgeting, Reduced Expenses, Resourceful Budgeting, Sensible Budgeting, Skilled Budgeting, Spend Less Monthly, Total Budgeting, Today’s Financial Living, Your Household Budget and Your Next Financial Step.

The telemarketers identified themselves as card services, credit services, card member services or as an employee of one of the phony businesses.

To win consumers’ trust, the telemarketers told consumers they knew the amount of their credit card debt, falsely claimed to have a business relationship with consumers’ lenders, and promised a money-back guarantee.

During the call, the defendants billed consumers’ credit cards between $695 and $1,495 and promised a specific reduced interest rate and savings amount within 90 days.

According to the investigation, the consumers did not receive the promised results or refunds, and instead became more indebted.

The defendants are Steven D. Short, his wife, Karissa L. Dyar, and their companies, E.M. Systems & Services LLC, Administrative Management & Design LLC, Empirical Data Group Technologies LLC, Epiphany Management Systems LLC and KLS Industries LLC, doing business as Satisfied Services Solutions LLC. Christopher C. Miles and his telemarketing company, One Easy Solution LLC, are also defendants in the lawsuit.

Bondi and the FTC obtained a temporary restraining order including the appointment of a receiver and an asset freeze against all defendants for their violations of the FTC Act, the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

On June 30, the court further enjoined all defendants through entry of a preliminary injunction order that had been stipulated to by the parties.

For more information on how to deal with debt, click on this link to the Federal Trade Commission’s website.

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