Network News - June 2014

June 2014
Volume 7 | Issue 2
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network news

On the go


The FTC’s online Complaint Assistant is now available for consumers who want to file a complaint through their mobile device. The new mobile format was designed for a smaller screen and no keyboard. The FTC has received over 6,000 complaints from mobile devices since late March.


This spring, the Sentinel team held training sessions for dozens of law enforcers from various agencies, including IRS’s office for Criminal Investigations and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division. It also demonstrated the Network’s capabilities for staff at the FBI’s headquarters.

Veterans’ education complaints

As part of an interagency effort to address complaints about the marketing of educational programs for veterans and transitioning servicemembers, Sentinel has collected more than 1,000 complaints filed with the Departments of Defense, Education and Veterans Affairs. These complaints concern educational institutions and student lending.


Between 2003 and 2013, the number of active registrations on the National Do Not Call Registry ballooned from 51 million to almost 217 million.

Alarming calls

The FTC has settled a complaint against a home security company that illegally called millions of people on the National Do Not Call Registry to pitch home security systems. According to the FTC, Versatile Marketing Solutions bought phone numbers from lead generators who claimed those consumers had given Versatile permission to contact them. They hadn’t. The lead generators used illegal methods – robocalls, fake surveys and calls to phone numbers on the Registry – to compile their lists.

Mortgage lead generator

An online operation that finds potential borrowers for mortgage companies will pay a $225,000 civil penalty to settle FTC charges that it deceived borrowers about the terms of the mortgages. The FTC charged that, a mortgage lead generator, advertised low interest-rate loans as having a fixed rate. The FTC alleged that the loans actually had adjustable rates that could make them more expensive for borrowers over time. The company also allegedly omitted key disclosures, like the annual percentage rate, the amount of downpayment and the repayment terms used to calculate the advertised payment amounts and interest rate.

Banned from debt collection

Under a settlement with the FTC, Jason R. Begley and Wayne W. Lunsford, the two principal owners of Rincon Debt Management, will give up more than $3.3 million in assets for victim refunds. The order permanently bans the two defendants from the debt collection business. Litigation continues against several companies that Begley and Lunsford used as part of their scheme.

Business opportunity

The operators of a business opportunity scheme have agreed to settle FTC charges that they defrauded people who bought their work-at-home program. Under the settlement, Ben and Dave’s Consulting Associates, Inc., and David Clabeaux, the defendants behind The Online Entrepreneur, are banned from selling business and work-at-home opportunities. They claimed they would help buyers set up their own websites. The scammers promised that buyers could earn a significant income in commissions by marketing their sites as affiliates of well-known companies like Prada, Sony, Louis Vuitton and Verizon.

Telemarketing fraud

At the FTC’s request, a federal court has halted a multi-million dollar telemarketing fraud that targeted older people. According to the FTC, Ari Tietolman, the leader of the telemarketing scheme, and his associates called tens of thousands of older people claiming to sell fraud protection, legal protection and pharmaceutical benefit services.

New members

Many types of law enforcers join Sentinel. In the past few months, Sentinel has welcomed new members that hailed from diverse organizations ranging from the federal (U.S. Department of Defense’s Military Community and Family Policy and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Police Force) to state offices (in Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina) to local law enforcement (police departments in Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia.) The California State Bar’s Enforcement Unit – along with the Colorado, Illinois and Virginia state bars – have access to Sentinel to help with prosecuting unauthorized practice of law cases.


Share any of FTC’s free resources and tips in your programs, on your website, and with your social networks.


The Department of Education and the Nevada Attorney General now share their complaint data with the Consumer Sentinel Network. The Nevada Attorney General also is the first state AG to post a link to the FTC Complaint Assistant on the state’s website.

Consumer Sentinel Network

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