Two corporate defendants and their principals have settled Federal Trade Commission charges for duping consumers into paying an advance fee for credit cards they never received, in violation of the FTC Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).
According to a proposed stipulated final judgment and order for permanent injunction, Platinum Universal, LLC, and Pulsar Data Inc., both doing business as Universal Card Services and Universal MasterCard, and Jeffrey A. Ullman and Steven M. Kirkovich would be permanently prohibited from engaging further in their unlawful practices.
Through cold calls and advertisements on television, radio, and the Internet, the FTC’s complaint stated, the defendants offered guaranteed, pre-approved cards with a credit limit up to $2,500, regardless of credit history and without a credit check, for an advance fee ranging from $99 to $200. According to the complaint, consumers who paid the fee did not receive a credit card. Some of them received a “stored value” card – a reloadable prepaid card rather than an extension of credit – while others received nothing, or instructions on how to obtain the stored value card.
Under the settlement, Ullman is permanently prohibited from involvement in any aspect of commerce in any stored value card or credit-related goods or services. A judgment of $900,000, representing their ill-gotten gains, will be suspended due to the defendants’ ability to pay only the $21,491.51 in assets that were frozen by the court in November, 2003. The judgment will be imposed if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the stipulated final judgment and order for permanent injunction in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida was 5-0. It was filed on April 3.
NOTE: This stipulated final order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. A stipulated final order requires approval by the court and has the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the stipulated final judgment and order for permanent injunction are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to thousands of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs
Office of Public Affairs
Barbara Anthony or Ann F. Weintraub
FTC Northeast Region, New York