FTC Presents Criminal Liaison Unit Award to Two San Francisco-Based Assistant U.S. Attorneys for Prosecution of Defendants Behind Fraudulent Billing Scheme

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission is honoring Assistant United States Attorneys Hallie Mitchell Hoffman and Kyle F. Waldinger with its Criminal Liaison Unit’s Prosecuting Attorney’s Award for their work in combatting consumer fraud. The Criminal Liaison Unit presents the award annually to one or more prosecuting attorneys who demonstrate an exceptional commitment to consumer protection in partnership with the FTC.

At an awards ceremony held in San Francisco on April 17, 2014, FTC Associate Director James Kohm said, “This award honors the dedication and diligence of Hallie Mitchell Hoffman and Kyle F. Waldinger in protecting American consumers. Prosecutors like them are essential in bringing the worst fraudsters to justice.”

Ms. Hoffman and Mr. Waldinger were the lead prosecutors in a case against brothers Roy Lin and John Lin and their related companies. The FTC previously took action against the Lins and their companies, alleging that they had placed tens of millions of unwanted and unauthorized charges on consumers’ telephone bill, a process known as “cramming.” The case, FTC v. INC21, resulted in a permanent injunction against the defendants, a $37.9 million judgment and the return of more than $5.4 million to consumers and businesses who were victimized by the scam.

The egregious fraudulent conduct and extensive consumer harm made it an ideal case for criminal prosecution. On March 27, 2012, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California indicted Roy Lin and John Lin on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, six counts of mail fraud, and three counts of money laundering. Due to the hard work and tremendous efforts of the prosecutors, and in cooperation with the FTC, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service, both Roy Lin and John Lin subsequently pled guilty and received sentences of 30 months and 20 months respectively for their roles.

The FTC often coordinates with criminal law enforcement to ensure the successful prosecution of fraudsters who prey on American consumers. Since its inception ten years ago, the FTC’s CLU has contributed to the successful prosecution of hundreds of fraudulent telemarketers, phantom debt and mortgage relief scammers, immigration fraudsters and others who prey on American consumers. 

The Federal Trade Commission is celebrating 100 years of promoting competition and protecting consumers through law enforcement, policy and research initiatives, and consumer and business education. File a consumer complaint online or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). To inform the Bureau of Competition about questionable business practices, write to antitrust@ftc.gov or call 202-326-3300.

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