The FTC will distribute $1.6 million to thousands of consumers who were scammed into paying money they did not owe by con artists who threatened, harassed and lied to them.
In 2003, the FTC sued three companies, operating under the name National Check Control, charging them with harassing and abusing consumers, falsely threatening criminal prosecution, illegally communicating with third parties, collecting amounts that were not due, and other violations of federal laws. In 2005, the court ordered a permanent halt to their operations and ordered them to pay redress to the consumers they had bilked. The defendants, including Check Investors, Inc., Check Enforcement, Inc., Jaredco, Inc., the companies’ owner, Barry Sussman, and their corporate counsel, Charles Hutchins, unsuccessfully appealed the case to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
On February 7, 2008, one day after the appeals court refused to reconsider his appeal, Sussman removed from a bank safe deposit box coins valued at $335,000 that the federal court had ordered him to turn over to the FTC for consumer redress. A federal jury convicted him of two felony counts – theft of government property and obstruction of justice. In October 2009, he was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and is currently serving his sentence.
The FTC recovered a total of $1.6 million for consumer redress. The funds will be distributed to 24,916 consumers who each lost $100 or more as the result of the defendants’ illegal actions. The consumers have been identified based on records obtained in the case. Consumers will begin to receive checks this month.
The FTC received substantial assistance in this case from the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General.
The Federal Trade Commission works for the consumer 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, click http://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.