LARGO — A Largo telemarketing firm is paying up to settle a scheme that authorities say affected nearly 1-million consumers nationwide.
The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that 14 defendants with Suntasia Marketing Inc. agreed to pay $16-million to settle charges.
"It's a very important case, and it's a tremendous victory for consumers," said Todd M. Kossow, an FTC attorney in Chicago.
With another $33-million from a previously announced settlement between the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Wachovia Bank, the total restitution to Suntasia victims will be nearly $50-million.
Kossow said the settlement could result in additional payments to victims. Bryon Wolf, president and chief executive of Strategia Marketing, and Roy Eliasson, the company's vice president in charge of management information systems, also must turn over any tax refunds they get as a result of redress payment.
Wolf did not return a call for comment Tuesday afternoon.
In July 2007, the Federal Trade Commission raided Strategia Marketing, formerly called Suntasia, saying the company used at least 15 business names to defraud consumers nationwide.
Suntasia telemarketers led consumers to believe the company was affiliated with consumer banks, the FTC said. The FTC also alleged that the company deceived consumers into providing financial information and charging them for free programs.