The FTC, through its claims administrator, mailed more than 400,000 checks totaling over $12 million on Friday, June 12, 2009, to consumers identified as victims of an illegal credit card billing scam operated by J.K. Publications and other defendants. The defendants made unauthorized charges on consumers’ credit and debit cards for purported Internet services. Information about the case can be found here: http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/9823616.shtm.
The redress checks are the result of a lawsuit the FTC filed in 1999. The defendants’ records obtained during litigation contained only credit and debit card numbers. Under instructions from the court, Credit Reporting Agencies and banks provided the FTC with the names and addresses associated with the card numbers as of the date of the charges. The FTC’s claims administrator mailed checks to those consumers last week.
Most of the illegal billing dates back to 1998. Substantial time passed between the court’s judgment and the issuance of these checks because the defendants moved millions of dollars of their ill-gotten funds offshore, and it took significant time and effort to locate and repatriate the fraudulently obtained money.
These consumer redress checks can be cashed directly by the recipients of the checks. The FTC never requires the payment of money up-front, or the provision of additional information, before consumers cash redress checks issued to them.