Debt Settlement Scam To Refund Millions

Millions in refunds will go to victims of a debt settlement scheme, but it’s not as much money as there might be. The accused scammers don’t have the money to pay the full judgment against them.

settlement with the Federal Trade Commission requires Jason R. Begley and Wayne W. Lunsford of  Rincon Debt Management to give up $3.3 million in assets. The money that’s recovered will then go to consumers who were victimized

The FTC says Begley, Lunsford and employees of their California-based operation harassed consumers by calling them repeatedly,  and calling their employers, family, friends, and neighbors. They posed as process servers and lawyers. They also threatened arrest if consumers didn’t respond to calls, and demanded payment for legal costs even though no lawsuits were filed and in many cases consumers didn’t owe anything.

Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said, “These debt collectors focused on Spanish-speaking consumers and other people who were strapped for cash, and preyed on them by using abusive collection tactics.”

A court order bars Begley and Lunsford from the debt collection business and imposes a $23 million judgment against them. But it was suspended because they can’t pay it.

Instead they’ll have to forfeit $3 million in frozen funds. Begley is required to surrender the rights to more than 3,500 American Eagle silver and gold coins. He will also pay a $176,115 contempt judgment for having sold his home and some other coins in violation of the court order asset freeze. Lunsford is required to pay a $134,000 contempt judgment for the proceeds he received when he sold his home in violation of the  freeze.

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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created ConsumerMojo.com to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.