At the Federal Trade Commission’s request, a federal court judge ruled against nine defendants and approved six settlement agreements with 11 others ending the massive Pointbreak Media robocall scheme.
In May 2018, the FTC charged the Florida-based defendants with operating a telemarketing scam that targeted small business owners with false threats of removal from Google’s search engine and false promises of unique keywords to make the business appear prominently in search results. The FTC also alleged the defendants wrote themselves $100 checks from more than 250 businesses’ checking accounts without the business owners’ knowledge.
The FTC amended its lawsuit in July 2018 to add violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rule, because the defendants robocalled more than 74 million consumers and called more than 14 million numbers on the national Do Not Call Registry.
The court orders announced Wednesday ban the defendants from illegal robocalling and direct the scheme’s main perpetrators, Dustin Pillonato and Justin Ramsey, to pay more than $3.3 million. The court also ordered the two to transfer custody of dozens of pieces of jewelry to the FTC, so the agency could use these assets to provide refunds to affected businesses.