FTC Action: Scammer Banned from Selling Debt Relief Services

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For Release

A mortgage relief services company and its owner, have agreed to settle allegations that they illegally charged homeowners an up-front fee for help they promised but never provided, and they will be banned from selling debt relief services under a federal court order.

The settlement resolves allegations that Wealth Educators and Veronica Sesma falsely promised they could lower consumers’ mortgage payment or interest rate, or obtain loan modification or restructuring, and illegally collected fees before homeowners got a written offer from their lender or servicer that they deemed acceptable. A court had ordered a halt to the alleged violations and frozen the corporate defendant’s assets  pending litigation.

The stipulated court order also prohibits the defendants from making misrepresentations about any products or services, and financial products and services in particular, and from selling or otherwise benefitting from customers’ personal information.

The order imposes a $885,677 judgment that represents the total amount of fees taken by the scheme. It will be partially suspended upon surrender of funds in the frozen corporate bank accounts. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the proposed stipulated final order was 5-0. The order was entered by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on August 21, 2015.

Learn more about mortgage and foreclosure rescue scams at Home Loans.

NOTE: Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court 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 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Frank Dorman
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2674

STAFF CONTACT:
Eleanor Durham
FTC’s Northwest Region Office
206-220-4476