A promoter of credit repair and debt relief services has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that he deceived consumers into paying thousands of dollars based on false promises that he could help solve their credit and debt problems.
According to the FTC, the promoter falsely told consumers he could improve their credit reports by removing negative information such as judgments, foreclosures, tax liens, bankruptcies, repossessions, and child support delinquencies, from the reports regardless of how old or accurate the information is. The FTC’s complaint also alleged that he and his lawyer falsely told consumer reporting agencies, as a reason to dispute negative items, that consumers were identity theft victims.
The FTC complaint charged that the marketer, Sam Tarad Sky, and his companies illegally charged consumers up to $2,199 before performing any services and failed to tell customers they could cancel the contract within three business days. He also falsely told consumers who bought debt relief services that they could satisfy their debt by paying much less than the full amount owed, such as 30 cents on the dollar.
The proposed settlement order against Sky and his companies bars them from deceiving consumers about any credit repair or financial good or service, and requires them to back up any debt relief claims they make, inform consumers that they have a right to cancel, and tell past clients how to have their escrowed funds returned. The order against Sky’s attorney, Kurt A. Streyffeler, and Streyffeler’s law firm, Kurt A. Streyffeler, P.A., bar them from misrepresenting any credit repair or financial good or service, and from violating the Credit Repair Organizations Act. All of the defendants are barred from selling or otherwise disclosing customer information.
The orders impose judgments of almost $2.5 million against Sky, Credit Restoration Brokers LLC, and Debt Negotiations Associates LLC, and $100,000 against Streyffeler and his law firm. The judgments will be suspended because of their inability to pay. The full judgments will become due immediately if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
The Commission vote to authorize the complaint and stipulated final orders for filing was 4-0. The documents were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Fort Myers Division.
NOTE: The Commission authorizes the filing of a complaint when it has “reason to believe”
that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendants have actually violated the law. Stipulated court orders are for settlement purposes only and do not necessarily constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. Stipulated orders have the force of law when signed by the judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and
unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.
(FTC File No. 0823001)
(Credit Restoration Brokers)
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FTCs Midwest Region