Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost Tuesday announced settlements in a lawsuit against 10 defendants – six companies and four individuals – that deceived Ohio consumers with illegal robocalls offering bogus credit card interest rate reduction services.
“Not only were these fraudsters bombarding Ohioans with illegal robocalls, they were also peddling a bogus pitch and demanding upfront fees,” Yost said. “After identifying the fraudulent scheme, we went after every link of this corrupt chain to stop these people from doing it again.”
Ohio partnered with the Federal Trade Commission in filing the 2019 lawsuit in federal court in the Western District of Texas. In the settlement, Globex Telecom, Inc. and associates agreed to pay Ohio and the FTC a total of $2.1 million, with $1.95 million coming from Globex.
Attorney General Yost and the FTC alleged in the lawsuit that Globex knowingly facilitated illegal robocalls for Educare Centre Services, Inc., which defrauded consumers in Ohio and other parts of the country out of millions of dollars with a debt relief scheme.
This groundbreaking lawsuit was the first of its kind in the country to go after a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider that was knowingly facilitating the scheme.
“I want this case to serve as a warning to others who knowingly play a role in facilitating robocall scams – we will continue to aggressively pursue and prosecute all parties involved.”
Globex and its subsidiaries, including an Ohio VoIP service provider and two others, are subject to the following injunctive terms, among others:
Implementing and abiding by heightened client screening, monitoring and review processes for current and potential clients and to re-screen any existing client who is subject to a subpoena from the government or similar investigative request;
Blocking any calls made by their clients that appear to come from certain suspicious phone numbers, including emergency numbers such as “911,” unassigned or invalid numbers or international numbers that charge consumers should consumers attempt to dial it;
Blocking calls that are using spoofing technology; and
Terminating relationships with any telemarketer that receives a certain number of official industry complaints about unlawful calls within a given time period.
Ohio and the FTC alleged that Globex and Educare were controlled by Mohammed Souheil, a Canadian national and Globex’s former CEO and president. As a result of the settlements, Souheil and certain other defendants are prohibited from telemarketing in the U.S., from marketing debt relief products or services and from otherwise using misrepresentations in the sale or marketing of any product or service. Further, Globex and its U.S.-based subsidiaries are prohibited from hiring Souheil, any of Souheil’s immediate family members or any of the other individual defendants.
Earlier this year, Madera Merchant Services, which processed the payments against consumer accounts for Educare, settled with Ohio and the FTC related to its role in the fraudulent scheme.
To report illegal robocalls, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office by calling 800-282-0515 or by texting “ROBO” to 888111.