Scammers Targeting Spanish-Speakers Will Turn Over Assets

For Release

Operators who promised Spanish-speaking consumers “designer” merchandise but delivered knock-offs and outdated electronics will give up approximately $235,000 to settle FTC charges that their scam violated federal laws including the Do Not Call Rule.

The telemarketers called Spanish-speaking customers, telling them they had been selected to get a valuable “prize,” such as a laptop or digital video camera. They told consumers that to get the prize, they would have to purchase “designer” merchandise, such as watches and fragrances. The FTC alleged that all consumers received for their payment of $213 to $250 were cheap knock-offs and outdated electronics. The FTC also charged that the operation called phone numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry.

The settlement with Del Sol, LLC and its principal, Fernando Gonzalez Lopez, prohibits them from making misrepresentations in the advertising or sale of any product or service and prohibits them from violating any provision of the Telemarketing Sales Rule, including the Commission’s Do Not Call Rule. A $1.6 million judgment against the defendants is suspended based on their inability to pay. They will give up approximately $235,000. If it is found that the defendants misrepresented their financial status, then they will be liable for the full amount.

The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the stipulated final order was 5-0. The stipulated final order for permanent injunction was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on December 5, 2006. The FTC would like to thank the Office of the Attorney General of North Carolina and Arizona for their assistance with this case.

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 order are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from 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 http://www.ftc.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.

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Jacqueline Dizdul,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2472
Staff Contact:

Victor DeFrancis,
Bureau of Consumer Protection
202-326-3495