The operators of a deceptive and abusive debt collection scheme are banned from the debt collection business and from buying or selling debt under settlements with the Federal Trade Commission and the New York Attorney General’s Office.
As alleged in the agencies’ complaint, the defendants used threats and abusive language, including false threats that consumers would be arrested or sued, to collect supposed debts. The court halted the operation pending resolution of the case.
In addition to the banned activities, the settlement orders prohibit the defendants from misrepresenting financial products and services and from profiting from customers’ personal information collected as part of the challenged practices.
The orders against Travell Thomas, 4 Star Resolution LLC, Profile Management Inc., International Recovery Service LLC, Check Solutions Services Inc., Check Fraud Service LLC and Fourstar Revenue Management LLC and against Maurice Sessum impose a $30 million judgment that will be partially suspended upon the surrender of certain assets. The order against Charles Blakely III and Merchant Recovery Service, Inc. imposes an $18,789,000 judgment that will be partially suspended upon the surrender of certain assets. The assets to be surrendered in these settlements include more than $1 million in corporate and individual assets frozen by the court. In each case, the full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated orders was 2-0. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York entered the orders on March 20, 2018.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York obtained 14 guilty pleas from individuals involved in the scheme, including Travell Thomas and Maurice Sessum who were each sentenced to more than 7 years in prison. The FTC’s referral of this case is part of the long-standing partnership between the agencies to help protect consumers. Read more about the assistance the FTC provides to criminal prosecutors on the FTC’s Criminal Liaison Unit page.
NOTE: Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
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