FTC Tussles With a Florida Telemarketer -- Again

September 10, 2013
Cleveland Plain Dealer (OH)  
payday lending news

Brett Fisher, whom the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has just hit with a $25 million penalty for preying on consumers, is no stranger to the agency. It previously sued the Florida man and his company at the time, Group One Networks, over an advance-fee credit card scheme. A January 2010 settlement drew a $17 million fine -- of which the defendant was able to pay only $21,000 -- and prevented Fisher, among other restrictions, from marketing interest-rate reduction services.

Undeterred by his legal loss, Fisher reportedly launched a new scheme almost immediately. The new firm, Pro Credit Group, colluded with lawyer Andre Keith Sanders as well as companies that placed "Rachel" robocalls to consumers, the FTC argued in court. The calls solicited $700 to $1,000 for help getting a lowering consumers' credit card rates -- aid that the FTC says was never delivered. Fisher also recruited call centers based in India to harass and threaten borrowers of online payday loans for repayment of what the FTC claims were phony debts. According to the lawsuit, Sanders Legal Group was used to process $5 million in payments of the non-existent payday debts. FTC's new settlement with Fisher again blocks him from telemarketing, debt collection, and the promotion of financial goods and services and also entails a $25 million penalty -- which he has agreed not to try to unload as part of a pending bankruptcy agreement.

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