2 NJ Men Settle FTC Credit-Fee Charges

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Two New Jersey men have agreed to pay $240,000 and accept a ban on the sale of their customer lists to settle charges that they ran an advance-fee credit card scam, the Federal Trade Commission said yesterday.

Bernard Rann and Anthony Camporeale ran Financial Services of North America Inc., which cold-called consumers offering Visa or MasterCard credit cards for a $99 fee regardless of their credit history, according to the FTC's charges. Requesting a fee in advance of arranging credit violates federal law.

Also, the company failed to deliver on the credit cards it promised, the FTC said. Consumers who paid the $99 received a membership in the "Diamond Club," a merchandise-buying club, and an application for a credit card at a South Dakota bank, which in some cases required consumers to pay further application fees.

The FTC further charged the company and its principals with debiting consumer bank accounts without permission. In other cases, consumers received charges in excess of what they had authorized, the FTC said.

Money paid by the men to settle the charges will be used to reimburse consumers, the FTC said. The settlement was approved in U.S. District Court in Trenton, NJ.

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