Defendants in FTC Mobile Cramming Case Accused of Contempt

Two individuals allegedly involved in an online scam are accused of violating the terms of a 2014 settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over a mobile cramming lawsuit, and must prove they are not in contempt, a Southern District of Florida judge ruled last Friday. 

The initial lawsuit was filed in 2013 by the FTC against Acquinity Interactive LLC and Revenue Path E-Consulting Private Limited and their associates, including Burton Katz. The lawsuit claims that the defendants placed unauthorized monthly charges of $9.99 on consumers’ mobile telephone bills for a premium SMS service that sent coupon codes and trivia questions. As part of the settlement, Katz and his associates were permanently enjoined from selling or promoting any false or misleading products. 

In 2020, the FTC became aware that Katz was involved in another lawsuit concerning an online scam that tricks consumers into providing money and personal information for fictional “quick and easy” government services, such as driver’s license renewal, court documents state. Katz and 12 corporate defendants were found to be in contempt. Through discovery, the FTC later learned that defendants Brent Levison and Elisha Rothman were also aware of the 2014 mobile cramming case settlement, and yet violated its terms. 

“From the moment the Court entered the 2014 Order, Katz and his associates have violated its restrictions. As the FTC previously showed, Katz employed a network of companies and individuals to operate hundreds of deceptive websites, and the New Contempt Defendants co-owned and co-managed the deceptive operation with Katz,” the FTC stated. 

Along with granting the FTC’s motion to show cause, Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr. also granted a preliminary injunction against the defendants. 

The defendants are represented by Robert W. Thielhelm, Jr., Jonathan B. New and Tom Donaho of Baker & Hostetler LLP