The operators of a Philadelphia-based telemarketing scheme will pay more than $7.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they peddled bogus “platinum” credit cards and illegally debited consumers’ bank accounts.
Blake Rubin, Chase Rubin and Justin Diaczuk - the individuals allegedly behind the Platinum Trust Card and Express Platinum Card scam - will be permanently banned from telemarketing and from selling any type of credit card product or service, according to the settlement. Apogee One Enterprises LLC and Marquee Marketing LLC also were banned.
The defendants allegedly called online payday loan applicants and offered a general-purpose credit card with a credit limit of up to $9,500, in exchange for an advance fee of up to $99 and a monthly $19 fee, according to the FTC.
They allegedly falsely claimed their cards could be used anywhere that accepts Visa, MasterCard or American Express, and that the cards would help rebuild consumers’ credit ratings because the defendants reported payment history to the major credit bureaus. The FTC alleged that the credit cards could be used only to purchase off-brand, overpriced products at the defendants’ online store.
The FTC in January charged the defendants with violating the FTC Act and the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule. A federal court later halted the operation, froze the defendants’ assets and appointed a receiver to control the business pending resolution of the case.
The settlement permanently prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting material facts about any goods or services, collecting payments from their customers, disclosing or otherwise benefitting from customers’ personal information and failing to dispose of this information properly.