The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is returning $1.87 million to consumers who lost money to a fraudulent Canadian telemarketing operation that promised debt and mortgage relief services for an upfront fee.
In an announcement, FTC said it is mailing out 1,630 checks to consumers to return money it has collected from Expense Management America (EMA), which didn't deliver on the services it promised. The value of refund checks, FTC said, would vary based upon the amount of money lost by EMA's customers.
FTC's action against the company comes after it filed a lawsuit to halt the deceptive tactics of the operation and bring relief to distressed home owners who were reportedly paying thousands of dollars in upfront payment to avoid a foreclosure on their home. While EMA provided little to no help to its customers, its practices often drove the consumers into even bigger debt.
“With many homeowners still struggling to hold onto their homes, the FTC takes a hard line against con artists who are seeking their next victim,” said Jon Leibowitz, then-chairman of FTC, at the time of the filing of the lawsuit against EMA.
Since 2008, FTC's tough stance against such mortgage relief schemes has helped consumers reclaim money from numerous fraudulent operations.
In another such action last month, FTC wrote over 1,700 checks, totaling $596,000, to consumers who lost money to a fraudulent debt scheme, which penalized its customers and processed funds tied to debts that they did not owe.