Two operators of alleged tech support scams have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission complaints and give up what they gained in the operation.
Mikael Marczak, doing business as Virtual PC Solutions, and Sanjay Agarwalla were among the subjects of a series of six complaints filed by the FTC last September.
As part of the investigation into one of Marczak's schemes, the FTC learned he was telemarketing a debt-relief program that the FTC claimed violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule. These alleged violations were added, along with an additional defendant, Marczak’s corporation Conquest Audit, to the complaint against Marczak in April.
Regarding the tech support scams, the defendants posed as major computer security and manufacturing companies to deceive consumers into believing that their computers were riddled with viruses, spyware and other malware, according to the complaints.
The complaints alleged that the defendants were not actually affiliated with major computer security or manufacturing companies and they had not detected viruses, spyware or other security or performance issues on the consumers’ computers. The defendants charged consumers hundreds of dollars to remotely access and “fix” the consumers’ computers.
The stipulated final orders against Agarwalla and Marczak and Conquest Audit, prohibit Agarwalla and Marczak from advertising, marketing, promoting, offering for sale or selling any computer security or computer related technical support service and from assisting others in doing so. Marczak and Conquest Audit also are prohibited from marketing or selling debt relief services.
In addition, both stipulated final orders impose monetary judgments. The final order against Agarwalla requires him to pay $3,000 – the total amount of funds he received for his role in the alleged scam operation. The final order against Marczak and Conquest Audit includes a $984,721 judgment, which is the total amount of money lost by consumers in the scams.
While the stipulated final orders announced today resolve the FTC’s claims against Agarwalla, Marczak and Conquest Audit, litigation continues against the remaining defendants in each of these actions.