The Federal Trade Commission has reached a settlement on Monday, March 20, 2018 in regards to debt collection agencies 4 Star Resolution LLC, Profile Management Inc., International Recovery Service LLC, Check Solutions Services Inc., Check Fraud Service LLC and Fourstar Revenue Management LLC. The agencies were found guilty of a $31 million debt collection scheme in 2015, resulting in the ban of multiple agencies and individuals.
The involved parties were found guilty of manipulating consumers into paying off debt by falsifying their identity as debt collectors. These agencies created fake identities in order to persuade consumers to pay off questionable debts, and in some instances put on law enforcement facades, threatened law suits and jail time if debt went unpaid by consumers.
According to the press release from the FTC dated March 22, 2018:
The orders against Travell Thomas, 4 Star Resolution LLC, Profile Management Inc., International Recovery Service LLC, Check Solutions Services Inc., Check Fraud Service LLC and Fourstar Revenue Management LLC and against Maurice Sessum impose a $30 million judgment that will be partially suspended upon the surrender of certain assets. The order against Charles Blakely III and Merchant Recovery Service, Inc. imposes an $18,789,000 judgment that will be partially suspended upon the surrender of certain assets. The assets to be surrendered in these settlements include more than $1 million in corporate and individual assets frozen by the court. In each case, the full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
The involved parties located in Buffalo, New York targeted consumers nationwide. 14 individuals were found guilty in this charge, among them being Travell Thomas, a poker player who allegedly used profit to fund his gambling, and Charles Blakely III as leaders of this scam. Individuals were charged in 2017 and are now serving sentences, some over 7 years.
With 7 agencies being banned from debt collections, the FTC is cracking down on manipulative companies as a way to protect consumers from collectors scaring and forcing consumers into paying their debt owed. According to the Better Business Bureau, guilty agencies have already been alerting them as out of business.
This settlement has been reached three years after investigation started in pursuit of complaints filed against these agencies to the FTC. If you, as a consumer, are receiving debt collector calls that are suspicious or threatening, contact The Federal Trade Commission here.