ScamBook.com Lin Miao Settled With The FTC

Well the boy wonder scambook.com founder Lin Miao settled with the FTC. We at SFA hope this serve as a good lesson for these wiz kids  that ethics and doing the right thing is always best route in LIFE.

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Operators of Massive Mobile Cramming Scheme Will Surrender More Than $10M in Assets in FTC Settlement

FOR RELEASE

June 13, 2014

The operators of a massive mobile cramming scheme have agreed to surrender more than $10 million in assets to settle Federal Trade Commission charges, including the contents ofnumerous bank accounts; real estate in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Chicago; and a number of cars and pieces of jewelry.

“Cramming unauthorized charges on consumers’ phone bills is unlawful, and this settlement shows the FTC is committed to making sure that anyone who does it won’t be able to keep their ill-gotten gains,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Consumers have the right to know what they are being charged.”

Under the terms of the settlement, Lin Miao and the corporate defendants will be permanently banned from placing any charges on consumers’ phone bills, making any misrepresentations to consumers about a product or service or a consumers’ obligation to pay, and will also be prohibited from charging consumers for a product or service without their express consent.  The settlement includes a monetary judgment of more than $150 million, which is partially suspended based on Miao’s inability to pay the full amount after he turns over nearly all of his and the companies’ assets.

Among the assets Miao and the corporate defendants will be required to surrender under the terms of the settlement are:

  • the contents of 14 bank accounts and one life insurance policy, less $5,000;
  • five real estate properties, including three in Chicago and one in each in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills;
  • four vehicles, including a 2013 Mercedes SUV, a 2014 Range Rover SUV, a 2011 Audi and a 2008 Bentley; and
  • numerous items of jewelry, including three Patek Phillippe watches, a Tiffany watch, two Tiffany rings with 10 and eight carat diamonds, a pair of six-carat Tiffany  earrings, and a Tiffany necklace, bracelet and diamond bracelet.

The FTC filed its complaint against Miao, along with the corporate defendants Tatto, Inc., Shaboom Media, LLC, Bune, LLC, Mobile Media Products, LLC, Chairman Ventures, LLC, Galactic Media, LLC, and Virtus Media, LLC, in December 2013.

The complaint alleged that Miao and the other defendants pitched text message services offering “love tips,” “fun facts,” and celebrity gossip alerts, but placed charges for these services – typically $9.99 a month – on consumers’ bills without their permission — a practice known as mobile cramming. They also allegedly used deceptive websites designed to collect consumers’ mobile phone numbers that would then be billed for the services.

The charges appeared on consumers’ phone bills under confusing names such as “77050IQ12CALL8663611606” and “25184USBFIQMIG” and in many instances, consumers did not notice the variations in the amount of their bills from month to month. When consumers did notice the charges and attempted to seek refunds, the process was often highly cumbersome, with some promised refunds from the defendants never arriving, or consumers receiving only partial refunds from their phone company.

The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated order was 5-0. The FTC filed the proposed order in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, and it was entered by the court on June 11, 2014.

NOTE: Stipulated orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

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 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

CONTACT INFORMATION

MEDIA CONTACT: 
Jay Mayfield
Office of Public Affairs 
202-326-2181

STAFF CONTACT: 
Jane Ricci
Bureau of Consumer Protection 
202-326-2269

Duane Pozza
Bureau of Consumer Protection 
202-326-2042

 

FTC SETTLEMENT –

Phony Payday Loan Brokers Settle FTC Charges

Defendants Will Be Banned From Credit-Related Businesses and Surrender Rolls Royce, Ferrari, and Other Assets

FOR RELEASE

July 11, 2014

The operators of a Tampa, Florida-based payday loan broker scheme have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they falsely promised to help consumers get loans, but instead used consumers’ personal financial data to take money from their bank accounts without their consent.

Claiming to be affiliated with a network of 120 potential payday lenders, defendants Sean C. Mulrooney and Odafe Stephen Ogaga, and five companies they controlled, misrepresented that 80 percent of all applicants got loans within an hour, according to the FTC’s complaint. In reality, the defendants did not lend money to consumers, and there is no evidence that they helped anyone in obtaining a loan.

According to the complaint, the defendants used consumers’ personal financial information it had collected through its websites to withdraw $30 from the bank accounts of tens of thousands of consumers, without authorization and without providing anything of value in return.

“These defendants deceived consumers to get their sensitive financial data and used it to take their money,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC will continue putting a stop to these kinds of illegal practices.”

The proposed settlement bans the defendants from:

  • marketing or providing any credit-related products or services, including loans, prepaid credit cards, debt-relief services, and credit repair services;
  • collecting, selling, or buying consumers’ personal and financial information, except in order to process a specifically authorized transaction; and
  • processing transactions using remotely created checks or remotely created payment orders.

The settlement imposes a $6.2 million judgment, which is equal to the defendants’ ill-gotten gains. The settlement requires Ogaga to surrender nearly all his assets: $50,000 in cash, and proceeds from the sale of his 2011 Rolls Royce Ghost, 2007 Lexus LS460, and 2006 Ferrari. Once he surrenders these assets, the remainder of the judgment against Ogaga will be suspended. The judgment against Mulrooney is entirely suspended, due to his inability to pay.

Also under the settlement, the defendants are prohibited from misrepresenting the terms and conditions of any service or product they market, and from charging consumers for anything without their consent. The settlement also requires the defendants to dispose of customer information that they have already collected and not to use, disclose, or benefit from, and it.

For more consumer information on this topic, see Online Payday Loans.

In addition to Mulrooney and Ogaga, the complaint named Caprice Marketing LLC; NuVue Partners LLC; Capital Advance LLC; Loan Assistance Company LLC; and ILife Funding, LLC, formerly known as Guaranteed Funding Partners LLC.

The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated final order was 5-0. The FTC filed the order in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and the court entered it on July 1, 2014.

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 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

CONTACT INFORMATION

MEDIA CONTACT:
Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-3707

STAFF CONTACTS:
James Davis and Elizabeth Scott
FTC Midwest Region
312-960-5611 or 312-960-5609