The past week witnessed a big win to the FTC—its lawsuit against RCG Advances, LLC and its owner Robert Giardina has resulted in a permanent ban and return of more than $2.7 million to consumers. In the meantime, the Commission is sending checks totaling more than $164,000 to consumers who were harmed by a bogus mortgage relief scam. Lastly, the FTC initiated a new action against California-based Gravity Defyer Medical Technology Corporation and its owner Alexander Elnekaveh for allegedly deceptive pain-relief claims for Gravity Defyer footwear. These stories and more after the jump.
Monday, June 6, 2022
Bureau of Consumer Protection: Credit and Loans
- A court order issued in the Commission’s lawsuit against RCG Advances, LLC and Robert Giardina, permanently banning the company and owner from the business financing and debt collection industries. The FTC alleged that the defendants lied to small business owners about terms and fees for their financing, and threatened them with violence at the failure of payment. In addition to the ban, the court ordered a more than $2.7 million payment to refund consumers, including an upfront payment of $1.5 million. Some examples of the defendants’ misconduct include false statement regarding personal guarantees, illegal and unfair use of confessions of judgment, provision of less funding than promised, and threatening calls to consumers and small businesses.
Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Bureau of Consumer Protection: Health Claims
- The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against California-based Gravity Defyer Medical Technology Corporation and its owner Alexander Elnekaveh for deceptive pain-relief claims about footwear. Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, opined that “Gravity Defyer and its owner used false pain-relief claims to target older Americans and undercut honest competitors.” While the defendants advertised their Gravity Defyer footwear as containing soles with “VersoShock” technology that is “clinically proven pain defying footwear,” the claim is not substantiated by reliable scientific evidence, according to the Commission.
Wednesday, June 8, 2022
Bureau of Consumer Protection: Mortgages
- Pursuant to a 2017 court order, the FTC is sending more than 2,000 checks with a total of more than $164,000 to consumers who were harmed by a bogus mortgage relief scam. The defendants, Brookstone Law, Advantis Law, and their attorneys, falsely told homeowners that they could avoid foreclosure and even be awarded financially by joining so-called “mass joinder” lawsuits against their lenders. Nevertheless, the defendants failed to file all promised lawsuits and never won any of the lawsuits.
Thursday, June 9, 2022
FTC Internal Operations: Tentative Agenda for June 16 Open Commission Meeting
- Chair Lina Khan announced that an open meeting of the Commission will be held virtually on Thursday, June 16, 2022, at 1:00 PM ET. The Commission will vote on whether to issue a policy statement relating to rebates and fees paid by drug manufacturers to pharmacy benefit managers and other intermediaries in exchange for disfavoring the lowest cost drug products. The Commission will also vote on whether to issue a report to Congress highlighting current uses of artificial intelligence to combat specific online harms, including, for example, scams and fake reviews, deepfakes and dark patterns, hate crimes and harassment, and child sexual abuse.