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FTC accuses company of defrauding fraud victims

FTC accuses company of defrauding fraud victims
The FTC accused an Arizona company of defrauding victims of telemarketing fraud. (Los Angeles Times)

An Arizona company that offered to help fraud victims recover stolen money instead defrauded them again by selling worthless do-it-yourself kits that cost hundreds of dollars, the Federal Trade Commission said.

Business Recovery Services of Mesa, Ariz., and its owner, Brian Hessler, preyed on victims of telemarketing fraud but then failed to help them recover any money, the FTC said.

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"In effect, this scheme rubbed salt in the wound of people who had already been victimized, targeting them and defrauding them all over again," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's consumer protection division. "The FTC is committed to taking action against these types of egregious scams."

Acting at the request of the FTC, a federal judge recently barred the company from offering such services in the future and ordered it to pay more than $5 million in damages. But the fine will be suspended if the company pays $90,000, the FTC said.

Business Recovery Services charged victims up to $499 to help people who had lost money to business opportunity and work-at-home schemes, but failed to help them recover lost money, the FTC alleged in a lawsuit.

In 2011, a federal judge found the company in contempt for violating a previous court order that barred it from charging upfront fees to fraud victims seeking its help.

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