After $22M haul, debt-relief scammers shut down by FTC

A phony debt-relief company that bilked consumers in the United States and Canada out of an estimated $22 million has been banned from the business under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

Mutual Consolidated Savings, which marketed a "Rapid Debt Reduction" program that promised to lower interest rates on credit cards for a hefty up-front fee, settled FTC charges it misled consumers. Under a court order settling the FTC charges, the defendants are permanently banned from marketing debt-relief services and will pay $1.5 million to compensate defrauded clients.

Filed as part of the agency's "Operation Short Charge," the FTC's complaint alleged MCS and its affiliates and principals used cold calls, pre-recorded "robocalls," and the Internet to push a phony "Rapid Debt Reduction" program in the United States and Canada.