Over $5.4 million being distributed to buyers of deceptive investment training scheme
The Federal Trade Commission is sending checks totaling more than $5.4 million to 31,144 consumers who purchased an allegedly deceptively marketed investment training scheme offered by California-based Online Trade Academy (OTA) and its founder and Chief Executive Officer, Eyal Shachar.
According to the FTC’s February 2020 complaint, OTA used false or unfounded earnings claims to sell “training programs” costing as much as $50,000. The Commission alleged that OTA made misleading claims that anyone could use its patented “strategy” to generate substantial income from trading in the financial markets and claimed this strategy could generate income in any market condition. Additionally, the complaint alleged OTA “instructors”— salespeople on commission who marketed OTA’s training and strategy in live events across the country— often falsely held themselves out as successful traders who had amassed substantial wealth using the company’s strategy.
In addition to paying for monetary refunds to consumers, under the order settling the agency’s complaint, OTA forgave over $13.3 million in debt owed by consumers to OTA.
More than 31,000 consumers are receiving checks, averaging $175 each. Epiq, the redress administrator in this case, will mail checks today. Checks will expire in 90 days, as indicated on the check. Consumers who have questions about this settlement can call the refund administrator at 1-855-535-1840.
The FTC’s interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of FTC refunds. In 2020, FTC actions led to more than $483 million in refunds to consumers across the country, but recently the United States Supreme Court ruled the FTC lacks authority under Section 13(b) to seek monetary relief in federal court going forward. The Commission has urged Congress to restore the FTC’s ability to get money back for consumers.
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