*Judge Jails 3 on TSR Violation

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A federal judge yesterday ordered the imprisonment on contempt of court charges of three people accused of violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Federal Trade Commission said.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston ordered Victor Stanley Wilcox, Belinda Sweeney and Lee Sumner Churchill jailed for violating a June injunction that froze their assets and ordered them to stop doing business.

Wilcox, Sweeney and Churchill continued their business operations despite the injunction, the FTC said. They will remain in jail until they pay or provide a full accounting of $552,705 they made since the injunction was issued.

In June the FTC filed a complaint in which it accused the trio of offering consumers a Visa card for $99, or a Visa card and a MasterCard for $129, but then only sent them information packets that included a list of banks from which they could apply for a card. The offer failed to make clear that consumers had to apply for the cards themselves, the FTC said.

Operating out of an office in St. Paul, MN, the three did business under the company names Credit Approval Service, Galveston, TX; National Research Service, Sioux Falls, SD; and Consumer Information Service, Mason City, IA, according to the FTC. On Oct. 26, the three were ordered to turn over or account for the revenues they made since the original injunction was issued. They also were banned from future telemarketing.

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