CORRECTED on loan collection restrictions.
A federal court has granted the Federal Trade Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction to halt the alleged illegal practices of Online Trading Academy (OTA). The court had previously entered a temporary restraining order in the case.
The FTC’s complaint against OTA, Eyal Shachar (also known as Eyal Shahar), Samuel Seiden, and Darren Kimoto, filed earlier this year, alleges that the defendants have used false or unfounded earnings and related claims to sell investment “training programs” costing as much as $50,000.
The complaint also alleges that OTA has required consumers who have gotten refunds from OTA to sign contracts that limit their ability to speak to law enforcement agencies or post negative reviews about OTA.
Under the terms of the preliminary injunction, the defendants are prohibited from making false, misleading, or unfounded representations to consumers about OTA’s training, including earnings claims. OTA also is prohibited from making or enforcing contracts that limit consumers’ ability to speak to law enforcement agencies or leave reviews online. The preliminary injunction appoints a monitor to oversee OTA’s marketing materials and practices and provide periodic reports to the court on this subject.
In addition, OTA is temporarily barred from imposing late fees or additional interest if consumers withhold payment on loans OTA made to customers, prior to April 2, 2020, to finance purchases from the company. OTA is also prohibited from using collections agencies to collect on the loans, and from selling the debt to others or reporting consumers to credit bureaus for non-payment of the loans.
The preliminary injunction freezes OTA’s assets and limits how much the individual defendants can spend, in order to preserve funds for potential redress to consumers.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the named defendants are violating or are about to violate the law and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.
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