FTC Scores Trial Victory Over Fake Government Website Operators

According to a press release issued last Friday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) secured a trial win against On Point Global LLC and its principals. Its triumph will make $102 million in refunds available to consumers who were harmed by a far-reaching scheme that pushed people to hand over cash or personal information to the phony government website operators.

The suit dates to December 2019 when the FTC sued On Point for operating hundreds of websites pretending to offer quick and easy solutions for services like renewing driver’s licenses or determining eligibility for federal food stamps programs with names like DMV.com or floridadriverslicense.org.

On websites where consumers paid for supposed services, they received, at most, a document with publicly available information, concerning, for example, how to apply for a drivers’ license. On other sites pretending to help people determine eligibility for government benefits, consumers were required to submit sensitive personal information and were then inundated with unwanted sales and marketing contacts after their details were sold “to a long list of shady marketers and lead brokers.” 

In its motion for a temporary restraining order, the FTC noted that thousands of On Point customers complained and many more asked their banks to reverse fraudulent charges. With its trial victory, the FTC obtained a court order mandating the refund process. 

The press release also noted that an On Point Global principal and defendant in the case, Burton Katz, was adjudged in contempt of court for violating a 2014 order enjoining him from  consumer protection law abuses.

Previously, Katz came under scrutiny “for placing millions of dollars in unwanted charges on consumers’ mobile phone bills by using spam text messages pitching ‘free’ gift cards.” Last August, the court agreed to enter a contempt of court order against him and awarded the FTC monetary relief.