FTC Mails Redress Checks Totaling $1.2 Million to Debt Reduction Scam Victims

The Federal Trade Commission is mailing almost 7,000 refund checks to victims of a nationwide operation that falsely claimed it would reduce consumers’ debt, leading many people into financial ruin and bankruptcy (http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/09/nss.shtm). Consumers paid the defendants an up-front fee of about 5 percent of their unsecured debt. The redress fund represents the available assets of the defendants, which include Homeland Financial Services, Prosper Financial Solutions, Dennis Connelly, and Richard Wade Torkelson.

The amount of each check will vary based on the amount of each person’s payments to the defendants. Consumers who receive checks should cash them on or before December 24, 2010. Checks are being mailed by the redress claims administrator, Gilardi & Co. Consumers with questions should visit www.ftc.gov/refunds or call the administrator at 1-877-987-3923. The total amount of money available for redress is about $1.2 million; the average amount of redress per consumer is about $180.

These consumer redress checks can be cashed directly by the recipients of the checks. The FTC never requires the payment of money up-front, or the provision of additional information, before consumers cash redress checks issued to them.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers 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, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

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