Court Imposes Restrictions on Credit Repair Company to Protect Consumers
The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that a federal court in Houston, Texas, entered a permanent injunction barring a credit repair company and its CEO from representing that it can repair or improve consumers’ credit scores. The court also entered a preliminary injunction that prohibits the defendants from making large or non-essential expenditures to preserve assets for consumer redress.
In a civil complaint filed March 1 and unsealed on March 14, the Department of Justice alleged that that Alexander V. Miller, 42, of Missouri City, Texas, and his company Turbo Solutions Inc. violated the Credit Repair Organizations Act, the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, the FTC Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule in connections with defendants’ marketing and sales of credit repair services. On March 4, the court issued a temporary restraining order imposing financial restrictions on defendants, which remained in place through the resolution of the preliminary injunction hearing.
The complaint alleges that the defendants used internet websites and telemarketing to falsely claim that the defendants could improve consumers’ credit scores by removing all negative items from consumers’ credit reports. According to the complaint, the defendants also filed or caused to be filed fake identity theft reports with the FTC. The complaint further alleges that the defendants routinely took prohibited advanced fees for their credit repair services and did not make required disclosures regarding those services. Many consumers allegedly paid defendants a fee ranging from several hundred dollars to $1,500, but did not receive the higher credit scores defendants promised.
“Credit repair scams affect consumers who already are suffering from low credit scores,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will use all tools at its disposal to stop credit repair agencies from engaging in unlawful conduct targeting financially vulnerable consumers.”
“IdentityTheft.gov is a resource for consumers, not scammers,” said Director Samuel Levine of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Those who abuse this resource by filing fake reports can expect to hear from us.”
The government is represented in the civil matter by Trial Attorneys Marcus Smith and Amy Kaplan, Senior Trial Counsel Stephen Tosini, Senior Litigation Counsel Claude Scott, Assistant Director Lisa Hsiao of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Kincheloe of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas. The FTC is represented by Gregory A. Ashe.
For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit its website at https://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. For more information about the FTC, visit its website at https://www.FTC.gov.