As a result of a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit, the operators of “The Credit Game,” a credit repair scheme that cost consumers millions of dollars, face a lifetime ban from the credit repair industry in proposed court orders filed today.
Michael and Valerie Rando and their companies, first sued by the FTC in May 2022, would also be required to turn over a wide array of property that would be liquidated and used to provide refunds to consumers harmed by the scam.
“These defendants falsely promised consumers improved credit based on tactics that were both illegal and ineffective,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Our proposed orders will permanently ban these fraudsters from peddling deceptive credit repair tactics to struggling consumers.”
In its complaint against the Randos and their companies, the FTC alleged that the scheme’s operators provided false information regarding consumers’ credit reports to credit reporting agencies. Additionally, the Randos perpetuated the harm to consumers by pitching their customers a supposed business opportunity to create their own bogus credit repair scheme. The complaint also alleged that the scammers encouraged consumers to pay for the bogus services using COVID-19 tax relief funds, which the FTC alleged violated the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act.
The proposed court orders, which were agreed to by the defendants in the case, include many requirements:
- Permanent ban on credit repair: The Randos and their companies are permanently banned from operating or assisting any credit repair service of any kind.
- Prohibition against unsubstantiated claims: The orders would also prohibit the defendants from making claims about any good or service’s benefits, performance, or efficacy without sufficient supporting evidence.
- Turn over possessions: The orders would require the defendants to turn over numerous properties, including their interest in numerous real estate investments; a Lamborghini, Maserati, Land Rover, and a golf cart; and the contents of numerous bank, investment, and life insurance accounts. A court-appointed receiver will liquidate these assets, and the FTC will use the funds to refund consumers harmed by the scam.
The orders contain a total monetary judgment of $18,875,613, which is partially suspended based on the defendant’s inability to pay the full amount. If the defendants are found to have lied to the FTC about their financial status, the full judgment would be immediately payable.