The Federal Trade Commission and a group of seven state enforcers filed a complaint in federal district court against Vyera Pharmaceuticals, LLC, alleging an elaborate anticompetitive scheme to preserve a monopoly for the life-saving drug, Daraprim. The Commission vote to issue the complaint was 5-0. The complaint was filed on Jan. 27, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In a Jan. 14, 2022 ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote found Shkreli’s conduct “egregious, deliberate, repetitive, long-running, and ultimately dangerous.” Judge Cote banned Shkreli for life from the pharmaceutical industry.
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The FTC filed a complaint against RCG Advances, LLC—formerly known as Richmond Capital Group, LLC, and also doing business as Viceroy Capital Funding and Ram Capital Funding—and a related entity and individuals. The complaint alleges that, since at least 2015, the defendants have deceived small businesses and other organizations by misrepresenting the terms of merchant cash advances they provided, and then used unfair collection practices, including threatening physical violence, to compel consumers to pay. The FTC also alleges that defendants have made unauthorized withdrawals from consumers’ accounts.
RCG Advances, LLC and Robert Giardina are permanently banned from the merchant cash advance industry for deceiving and threatening small businesses and their owners. In addition, the court ordered RCG Advances and Giardina to make an upfront payment of $1.5 million and subsequent payment of more than $1.2 million to refund consumers.
The Federal Trade Commission alleged that BlueHippo Funding, LLC, and BlueHippo Capital, LLC operated a deceptive computer financing scheme in violation of a federal court order.
Yellowstone Capital, a provider of merchant cash advances, will pay more than $9.8 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it took money from businesses’ bank accounts without permission and deceived them about the amount of financing business owners would receive and other features of its financing products.
Merchant cash advances are a form of financing in which a company provides money to a small business up front in exchange for a larger amount repaid through daily automatic payments. In this case, the FTC alleged that Yellowstone and its owners continued withdrawing money from businesses’ bank accounts for days after their balance had been repaid. The complaint alleged that these unauthorized withdrawals left businesses without needed cash and that any refunds from the company could take weeks or months.
The Federal Trade Commission is sending 7,731 checks totaling more than $9.7 million to small businesses who were harmed by Yellowstone Capital, a merchant cash advance company that withdrew money from their bank accounts without permission.
In March 2021, a New York-based company and its CEO agreed to settle FTC charges that they sold hundreds of thousands of indoor TV antennas and signal amplifiers to consumers using deceptive claims that the products would let users cancel their cable service and still receive all of their favorite channels for free. Among other things, the proposed consent order settling the FTC’s complaint prohibits the defendants from making claims about: 1) any product’s rating, ranking or superiority to other products; 2) the channels users will receive; or 3) any material aspect of a product’s performance, efficacy, or central characteristics, unless the claims are true and substantiated.
A sprawling fundraising operation that allegedly scammed consumers out of millions of dollars will be permanently banned from charitable fundraising along with its owner and others involved in its operation as a result of a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission and Attorneys General of New York, Virginia, Minnesota, and New Jersey.
The operation is made up of multiple companies all under the control of owner Mark Gelvan, along with his associates Thomas Berkenbush, William English, and Damian Muziani. The complaint filed by the FTC and the states alleges that the defendants served as the primary fundraisers for a number of sham charities that were the subject of numerous law enforcement actions.
New York City car dealer Bronx Honda and its general manager, Carlo Fittanto, will pay $1.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges they discriminated against African-American and Hispanic car buyers and engaged in numerous other illegal business practices.
According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants told sales people to charge higher financing markups and fees to African-American and Hispanic customers. The defendants told employees that these groups should be targeted due to their limited education, and not to attempt the same practices with non-Hispanic white consumers. According to the complaint, African-American and Hispanic customers paid more for financing than similarly situated non-Hispanic white consumers.
One of the biggest payment processing companies and its former executive will pay more than $40.2 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges they knowingly processed payments and laundered, or assisted laundering of, credit card transactions for scams that targeted hundreds of thousands of consumers.
The FTC alleged that First Data Merchant Services, LLC and its former vice president, Chi “Vincent” Ko, allegedly ignored repeated warnings from employees, banks, and others that they were laundering, or assisting laundering, and facilitating payments for companies that were breaking the law over a number of years.
The FTC and New York State AG have charged the marketers of the dietary supplement Prevagen with making false and unsubstantiated claims that the product improves memory, provides cognitive benefits, and is “clinically shown” to work.
Cardinal Health, Inc. agreed to resolve charges that it illegally monopolized 25 local markets for the sale and distribution of low-energy radiopharmaceuticals and forced hospitals and clinics to pay inflated prices for these drugs. According to the FTC’s complaint, through separate acquisitions in 2003 and 2004, Cardinal became the largest operator of radiopharmacies in the United States and the sole radiopharmacy operator in 25 metropolitan areas. Between 2003 and 2008, Cardinal employed various tactics to coerce and induce two suppliers to refuse to grant distribution rights for their respective heart perfusion agents products to new competitors in the relevant markets. As a result of these tactics, the complaint alleges that Cardinal obtained de facto exclusive distribution rights to the only HPAs available on the market and prevented numerous potential entrants from gaining access to these radiopharmaceuticals. The stipulated order requires Cardinal to pay $26.8 million of ill-gotten gains and represents the second largest monetary settlement the FTC has obtained in an antitrust case. The money will be deposited into a fund for distribution to injured customers. The order also includes provisions to prevent future violations and restore competition in six markets where Cardinal remains the dominant radiopharmacy.
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