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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

FTC settles with credit card laundering defendants

Federal Issues FTC Enforcement Credit Cards FTC Act Telemarketing Sales Rule Payment Processors

Federal Issues

On February 10, the FTC announced settlements with several defendants that allegedly violated the FTC Act and the Telemarketing sales Rule by assisting an operation responsible for laundering millions of dollars in credit card charges through fraudulent merchant accounts. As previously covered by InfoBytes, the defendants engaged in a credit card laundering scheme with the operation to process credit card charges through merchant accounts set up by the operation under fictitious company names instead of processing charges through a single merchant account under the operation’s name. According to the FTC’s complaint, the defendants purportedly (i) underwrote and approved the operation’s fictitious companies; (ii) set up merchant accounts with its acquirer for the fictitious companies; (iii) used sales agents to market processing services to merchants; (iv) processed nearly $6 million through credit card networks; and (v) transferred sales revenue from the transactions to companies controlled by the defendants. 

The settlements (see here, here, and here) permanently ban three of the defendants from payment processing and telemarketing or acting as independent sales organizations or sales agents in the payment processing industry. A previously issued settlement against a fourth defendant banned him from payment processing or acting as an independent sales organization or sales agent in the payment processing industry. Monetary judgments totaling more than $10.7 million collectively have been suspended due to the defendants’ inability to pay.

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