Attorney General Ashley Moody press release
VIDEO: Attorney General Moody Raises Over $ 260 Million Through Ongoing Efforts To Protect Florida Consumers
TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Attorney General Ashley Moody’s efforts to protect Floridians and hold scammers accountable continue this week as Florida recognizes National Consumer Protection Week. Since 2019, Attorney General Moody’s consumer protection division has secured more than $ 260 million in restitution and other relief for Floridians. Efforts to protect consumers rapidly evolved early last year when COVID-19 began to spread and Florida fell into a state of emergency.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said: “As COVID-19 has spread, scams exploiting the pandemic have also spread. Inevitably, as millions of Floridians began working from home to slow the spread of the virus, new programs emerged capitalizing on the fear of the virus and using the government’s response as the basis to create new scams. These schemes relied heavily on technology, using emails, texts, and robocalls as tools to reach targets in order to steal consumers’ money and personal information.
“I am proud of the response from my attorneys and consumer protection investigators who are quickly adapting to this new environment to protect Floridians from fraud and deception. Through their hard work, we’ve raised millions of dollars for consumers and helped prevent countless Floridians from falling victim to emerging scams by issuing alerts to consumers when we learn of new scams. This Consumer Protection Week, we’ll be focusing on some of the great work these dedicated public servants are doing to help build a stronger, safer Florida.
Florida remains under a state of emergency due to the pandemic, and Attorney General Moody’s Price Gouging’s hotline remains active. Through reporting to the hotline and other contacts with the attorney general’s office, millions of dollars have been recovered and more than 10,000 consumer concerns have been resolved.
To learn more about Attorney General Moody’s efforts to prevent price hikes and provide relief to consumers amid the COVID-19 state of emergency, click here.
In addition to fighting to protect consumers amid the pandemic, since taking office in 2019, Attorney General Moody has worked to end a myriad of scams and deceptive marketing practices. Here are some of the notable cases:
State of Florida v. Experts in client care: Client Care Experts operated a tech support business that allegedly exploited consumer fears about computer viruses, hackers, and other security threats to trick consumers into buying expensive and unnecessary tech support services and software. To date, the attorney general’s office has obtained three consent final judgments the imposition of permanent injunctions and over $ 12.5 million in total relief, including $ 10 million in consumer restitution. The case is still ongoing against the other defendants of the scheme and collection efforts are continuing.
State of Florida v. Ocwen Financial Corp: Attorney General Moody and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation have filed a joint action against Ocwen to address shortcomings in Ocwen’s residential mortgage service, including the alleged failure to accurately integrate loans into its mortgage system. registration, mismanagement of borrower escrow accounts, overloading borrower accounts and sending deceptive communications about borrower accounts. Thanks to a judgment on consent Seized by the Federal District Court, the Attorney General’s Office secured over $ 11 million in total relief, including $ 6.5 million in debt relief for eligible borrowers and over $ 2 million restitution.
State of Florida v. PEAKS Trust: PEAKS Trust, a private loan program run by ITT and affiliated with Deutsche Bank entities, provided temporary credit to students that the company knew or should have known it would not be able to repay. When the temporary credit expired, ITT pressured and coerced students into taking loans from PEAKS which often carried high interest rates. Attorney General Moody and a coalition of other state attorneys general have taken steps to get about $ 330 million in debt relief, including more than $ 24 million for Floridians.
Guiribitey Cosmetic and Beauty Institute, Inc. d / b / a CG Cosmetic Surgery: Attorney General Moody’s Consumer Protection Division investigated CG cosmetic surgery based on allegations that the company had engaged in deceptive or unfair consumer actions in Florida and elsewhere in the advertising, promotion, marketing and provision of plastic surgery services. As a result of actions taken by Attorney General Moody’s Consumer Protection Division, CG Cosmetic Surgery reimbursed consumers a total of more than $ 274,000.
FTC and State of Florida v. American Veterans Foundation and Paul Monville: The American Veterans Foundation said donations would help prevent homelessness for veterans. AVF made multiple promises, including that the organization would send military care packages overseas and help veterans get advice. However, the investigation by the Attorney General’s office found that less than three percent of the funds were intended to help homeless veterans and that most of the contributions were intended for fundraising, employee compensation and at other overheads. As a result of joint action with the Federal Trade Commission, the attorney general’s office obtained a permanent injunction and order forcing AVF and its principal Paul Monville to pay more than $ 119,000 to redistribute for charitable purposes, part of which was used to build a smart home specially adapted for Jupiter for a veteran injured in the line of duty.
In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Moody will highlight additional efforts to protect Floridians. Attorney General Moody will also contact consumers directly via social media.
To follow the week-long Twitter campaign, visit Twitter.com/AGAshleyMoody.
To report consumer scams or deceptive marketing practices, visit MyFloridaLegal.com or call 1 (866) 9NO-SCAM. To report suspected price increases, consumers can also download the No Scam app. For more information about the application, click here.