The Federal Trade Commission and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office Friday announced a settlement with a group of defendants who participated in a tech support scheme that allegedly defrauded thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars.
U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra in West Palm Beach presided over the cases.
The defendants who have agreed to settle the action against them are Boost Software, Inc., Boost Software’s principal Amit Mehta, Vast Tech Support, LLC’s principals Elliot Loewenstern and Jon-Paul Vasta and related entities.
One order bans Loewenstern and Success Capital from the tech support industry and other orders prohibit Mehta and Boost Software from selling leads related to tech support.
“These defendants deceived consumers and used high-pressure sales tactics to convince them that their computers required tech support products,” said Jessica Rick, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The FTC and Bondi’s Office filed a complaint in 2014 alleging that the defendants used software designed to trick consumers into thinking there were problems with their computers, and then directed them to telemarketers who subjected those consumers to high-pressure deceptive sales pitches for tech support products and services.
The complaint charged that the defendants violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule and the FTC Act, along with the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
The settlement orders include judgments against the defendants totaling more than $37 million, which will be suspended after they pay a total of approximately $236,000 and surrender the corporate assets. The judgments are suspended due to the defendants’ inability to pay and will be lifted with the full amounts due if any of the defendants’ financial disclosures were incorrect or incomplete.
Litigation continues against co-defendants Mark Donohue, Vast Tech Support, LLC, and OMG Tech Support, LLC.
Anyone who suspects unfair or deceptive business practices can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office at MyFloridaLegal.com or call 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.