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FTC Crackdown on Fraud Nets Texas Man and Online Business

The Federal Trade Commission is the federal agency that protects consumers from anticompetitive or deceptive business practices. One of the FTC's main tasks is to investigate consumer complaints of fraudulent business practices. The FTC has made cracking down on fraud a priority, particularly mortgage fraud. In 2009, the FTC announced that it was going to focus on eliminating fraudulent mortgage relief schemes in light of the housing crisis and the many mortgage fraud scam complaints it was receiving. In September 2011, the FTC filed complaints against a Texas man and the operators of an online business as part of its fraud crackdown.

Mortgage Relief Scheme

The FTC filed a complaint against Texas resident Christopher Mallett, alleging he deceived consumers by offering mortgage, tax and debt relief through phony websites. The complaint stated that Mallett led consumers to believe that his operation was associated with the government by claiming his services were affiliated with the "Department of Consumer Services Protection Commission," a combination of parts of the names of two government agencies: the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The FTC also alleged that Mallett transferred the money he made from these sites to offshore companies and bank accounts.

"Risk Free" Offers

The FTC also filed a complaint against the operators of an online business providing "free" or "risk free" trial offers of weight-loss pills and tooth whitening formulas. The complaint stated the company collected over $450 million by charging consumers for items that they did not agree to purchase after the consumers signed up for the free trial offers. The FTC also claimed that the business owners transferred the money they collected overseas.

FTC Focus on Fraud

The FTC's mission has always included consumer protection actions and consumer advocacy. The FTC has a Bureau of Consumer Protection which focuses solely on enforcing federal laws that protect consumers. The FTC began the push to eliminate fraud in the wake of the fraudulent mortgage relief companies that proliferated after the housing market collapsed in 2008. The agency partnered with state consumer protection agencies to aggressively pursue suspected fraud.

Consult an Attorney

The FTC's push to eradicate fraud shows how seriously authorities take consumer fraud allegations. Authorities will not hesitate to prosecute charges of mortgage, tax, mail or wire fraud to fullest extent allowed. If you are facing fraud charges, consult an experienced fraud defense attorney who can defend your rights.