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U.S. District Court, Middle, Florida

In this action the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued several parties for their involvement in a robocalling scheme. The suit was resolved with a summary judgment and subsequent settlement in federal court.

The defendants, Universal Processing Services (UPS), which did business as Newtek Merchant Solutions, is a payment processor based in Wisconsin. UPS and co-defendant and telemarketer, Hal E. Smith, and his company, HES Merchant Services Company, Inc. (HES) were accused of running a deceptive robocall credit card interest rate reduction scheme. The so-called Treasure Your Success (TYS) telemarketing scheme purported to be a credit card interest rate reduction service that used robocalls to solicit consumers. The defendants were accused of failing to disclose the identity of the person or persons responsible for placing the robocalls, as well as unlawfully calling numbers that had been registered on the FTC’s, “Do Not Call” registry.

The FTC filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, naming as defendants multiple parties including UPS, HES, and Hal S. The defendants, excluding UPS, HES and Hal S. ultimately agreed to final orders settling charges against them. The remaining defendants were accused of 11 violations of the FTC Act and the Commission’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR).In November ________, a summary judgment was granted against defendants. In February ________, the court entered a permanent injunction against them, including a 20-year ban on robocalls, telemarketing, and marketing debt relief products or services. Hal S. and HES were further enjoined from making misrepresentations in the sale or marketing of any product or service, including financial products or services. UPS was found liable for "assisting and facilitating" the TSR violations of other defendants by providing interface with banks to handle credit card payments while knowing (or avoiding knowledge) of the underlying TSR violations. The court found that, among other things, UPS ignored numerous red flags that would have otherwise led to their declining TYS as a client. The court imposed a $________ judgment jointly against the parties.

A final order was approved by a 5-0 vote by the FTC, and was ultimately approved by a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division. The defendants were jointly ordered to pay $________ to the Commission, with the money to be used to provide funds to defrauded consumers.

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