The final defendant in a case that brought a $1 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in December for illegal debt collection practices has agreed to settle FTC charges that he threatened and harassed consumers to get them to pay old, unenforceable debts or debts they did not owe.
Under the settlement, Joshua Rausch is prohibited from engaging in debt collection activities or assisting others engaged in debt collection activities. If he has misrepresented his financial condition, a $15 million judgment, representing the minimum amount of consumer injury, will be imposed against him.
Rausch was among several individual and corporate defendants, including Capital Acquisitions and Management Corp. (CAMCO), charged with violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The other individuals are subject to the same prohibitions under previous settlements reached with the FTC. In December 2006, pursuant to a settlement entered by the court involving the FTC, CAMCO, and CAMCO’s largest creditors, CAMCO agreed to pay $1 million in ill-gotten gains to the FTC.
CAMCO, which was permanently closed by the court-appointed receiver in December 2004, was a “debt buyer” – a company that buys and attempts to collect delinquent debts. Most of the debts that CAMCO attempted to collect were well past the statute of limitations, and therefore unenforceable in court. Many of the debts also were more than seven years old, and therefore beyond the credit reporting period allowed under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
The other parties named in the FTC complaint are RM Financial Services Inc., Capital Properties Holding Inc., Caribbean Asset Management Ltd., Reese Waugh, Jerome Kuebler, Eric Woldoff, George Othon, Jeffrey Garrington, David Kapp, Michael Seng, and Billy Martin.
The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the stipulated final order for permanent injunction was 5-0. The order was filed in and entered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
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 complaint and stipulated order are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and 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 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/ftc/complaint.htm. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Office of Public Affairs
Midwest Region Office
(FTC File No. X04-0036)