‘ Two Affiliate Marketing Scams and their Companies Agree to Settle FTC Charges for Sending Millions of Spam Letters Offering False Promises of Gift Cards ‘

#AceFinanceNews – UNITED STATES – June 15 – Two affiliate-marketing scammers and their company have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they sent millions of unwanted text messages to consumers across the U.S. with false promises of $1,000 gift cards to retailers like Best Buy, Target and Walmart.

Under the terms of their settlement with the FTC, Scott A. Dalrymple of Pennsylvania and Robert Jerrold Wence of Texas, who operated a company called Advert Marketing, Inc.,

​will be permanently banned from sending unwanted or unsolicited commercial text messages or assisting others in doing so. In addition, the two will also be prohibited from misrepresenting to consumers whether a product is “free,” whether they have won a prize or been selected for a gift, or other behaviour related to the nature of the scam.


​Dalrymple, Wence and Advert Marketing were among the defendants named in the FTC’s 2013 enforcement sweep against text message spammers and affiliate marketers who used false


​(Consumerist Fine $4.2 Million Fine)

promises of free gift cards to draw consumers into websites that asked them to provide credit card information to sign up for trial offers.

The settlement contains a monetary judgement for $4.2 million, which is partially suspended due to the defendants’ inability to pay.

Under the terms of the settlement, Dalrymple and Wence will be required to pay $15,000 each to the Commission, and will be required to destroy any consumer data they may have collected while conducting the text message spam operation.

The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated final judgment was 5-0. The FTC filed the proposed stipulated final judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, and the Court entered the stipulated final judgment on June 10, 2014.

NOTE: Stipulated final judgments have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.

#AFN2014

‘ Deceptive Mortgage Advertising Misleads People With Words Such As ZIP, ZERO AND NADA ‘

#AceFinanceNews – UNITED STATES – June 15 – The headline read ZIP. ZERO. NADA. In big print, the ads also said 0 money down* and 0 for paid closing costs*. Heritage Homes did not include ZILCH, BUPKES, or (for “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fans) THE BIG GOOSE EGG, but the FTC says the meaning to prospective buyers was clear. So how much truth was in that across-the-board “zero” claim? According to the FTC’s complaint: Zip. Zero. Nada.

Through newspaper ads, flyers, and direct mail, the Pennsylvania-based builder led consumers to believe they could finance their purchase with no money down and no closing costs. But the FTC says that lurking behind those zeroes were hidden fees and charges, including a “good faith deposit” of as much as $2000.

Heritage%20Homes.jpgHeritage Homes’ ads also claimed that consumers could buy a home in a certain development for just $1,198 a month.

But there was an undisclosed catch. To score that low payment, people had to get financing through the USDA Rural Development Loan Program, which imposes specific credit and income criteria.

The FTC says the defendants also failed to make adequate disclosures about the annual percentage rates consumers would pay for the mortgages.

The FTC charged that the defendants’ ads violated Section 5 of the FTC Act, but the complaint also included counts of particular interest if you have clients who advertise mortgages. In 2011, the FTC implemented the Mortgage Acts and Practices-Advertising Rule, known as the MAP Rule to friends and family, and later recodified as Regulation N.

The MAP Rule bans a houseful of deceptive representations in mortgage advertising, including – to name just a few – misrepresentations about mortgage terms or the existence, nature, or amount of mortgage fees or costs.

Also outlawed by the MAP Rule: deceptive “no fees” claims and misleading statements about a consumer’s ability or likelihood to get a particular mortgage.The FTC alleges that Heritage Homes’ ads violated the MAP Rule and Regulation N. In addition, the complaint includes two counts of Truth in Lending Act and Regulation Z violations.

The settlement imposes sweeping changes in how Heritage Homes and four affiliated companies advertise and do business.

Among other things, they’re banned from misrepresenting key mortgage terms and from misrepresenting – or helping others to misrepresent – any relevant facts concerning the sale of homes.

The settlement also imposes a $650,000 civil penalty, suspended based on the defendants’ ability to pay.

The order applies just to those companies, of course, but there’s a lot that other advertisers can take from the case.

#ANS2014

‘ US Marshals Selling Off BitCoin at Today’s $600 Price to Drive Down the Price on the Open Market ‘

#AceFinanceNews – Dropped, as Yoda would say, the other shoe has. U.S. Marshals are now selling off 29,656.51306529BTC, about $18 million in bitcoin at today’s $600 price. The sale announcement drove prices down for a brief period overnight moving the needle down from $620 to $608.

​Another cache of $83 million worth of bitcoin is also being allegedly auctioned off by the FBI.

Anyone who did not see this coming was delusional.

Note that the U.S. Marshals are also treating this like a seized assets sale and not a currency sale. This also does not include Ross Ulbricht’s BTC which are stored in another wallet in his name. The government is treating this no differently than a drug lord’s jet ski or Cadillac. And don’t expect to waltz in and pick these up at a song – every potential bidder has to pony up $200,000 just to be in the running. Furthermore, don’t expect to ship these to North Korea or into your “Bad Motherfucker” wallet:

Block Transactions. The USMS will only sell the bitcoins in the Series A and B Blocks as described above. No bitcoin transfer will be made until the USMS has confirmed receipt of all purchase funds from the buyer. The USMS will not transfer bitcoins to an obscene public address, a public address apparently in a country restricted by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a public address apparently associated with terrorism, other criminal activities, or otherwise hostile to the United States.

Where, then, does bitcoin go from here? There are nearly 13 million BTC in circulation right now, making 29,000 a paltry sum. In the skittish, information-reactive world of bitcoin, however, this is nearly the end of the world.

As bitcoin bugs begin their mad dash to buy and sell on trends, the volatility should bring bitcoin down further before it goes back up anywhere near its recent highs.

#AFN2014

‘ Ohio is First Nation to Roll-Back Renewable Standards ‘

#AceFinanceNews – UNITED STATES (Ohio) – June 15 – It took two weeks, but now it’s official—Ohio is the nation’s first state to roll back renewable standards.

After the state House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 310 in May, Gov. John Kasich signature was all that was missing to ensure Ohio’s clean-energy fall from grace.

The standards—first passed in 2008 and reauthorized two years ago—previously required the state’s utilities to sell more solar and wind energy each year and charged them with finding efficiency solutions for their customers. Kasich’s signing means the standards are put on hold until 2017, when a committee formed by the bill’s passage could agree to permanently freeze them.

Kasich signed the bill Friday without any comment to the media, The Plain Dealer reported.

John Kasich signed a bill on Friday that freezes renewable energy for at least two years. Video screenshot: JohnKasich2010/YouTubeJohn Kasich signed a bill on Friday that freezes renewable energy for at least two years. Video screenshot: JohnKasich2010/YouTube

“Dirtier air. Higher electric bills. Lost jobs and investment. These are the new ‘dividends’ in store for Ohio from this major divestiture in clean energy,” said Trish Demeter, managing director of Energy and Clean Air Programs for the Ohio Environmental Council (OEC).

Groups like the American Wind Energy Association made a late push for Kasich to veto the bill, but they had no such luck. They tried reminding the governor of success stories like the Blue Creek Wind Farm, spread across two counties and six townships in Northwest Ohio. In February, Iberdrola

Renewables presented $2.7 million worth of checks to two communities to commemorate the first of the annual payments in lieu of taxes for the state’s largest wind farm.

In all, environmental groups like the OEC estimate that consumers have saved a combined $1 billion on their bills over the life of the standards, while others say the standards have brought in $1 billion investment commitments, Continues

#AFN2014

‘ EU to Mediate Talks between Moscow and Kiev as fighting Continues to Escalate in Ukraine ‘

#AceFinanceNews – The EU is to mediate new talks between Moscow and Kiev, as fighting continues to escalate in east Ukraine.

The talks were agreed on Friday (13 June) in a phone-call between European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

The commission said there will be “technical level as well as … political level consultations” to “discuss implementation aspects” of an EU-Ukraine free trade treaty, which is to be signed in Brussels on 27 June.

Barroso first spoke to Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko to obtain his blessing for the initiative.

Ukraine diplomatic sources say the consultations are to begin after 27 June. “We are not speaking here about asking Russia whether we should sign or not sign the treaty because that decision is our sovereign right”, a Ukrainian contact told EUobserver.

A commission source said the talks would not discuss changing the content of the treaty, but only how to implement it in a way which does not harm Russia’s trade interests.

The treaty would mark a shift in international relations by legally binding Ukraine to integrate with the EU and to stay out of Russia’s Eurasian Union.

Behind the scenes, there is little faith the Barroso initiative will make Putin change course.

#AFN2014