FTC: Spammer/Scammer Who Sent ‘Mind-Boggling’ Number Of Text Messages And Traded On Name Of Government Hit With Judgment, Ban

Phillip A. Flora of Huntington Beach, Calif., caused cell-phone bills to rise when he sent millions of unsolicited text messages. Flora sent at least 5 million such messages, a number the FTC described as mind-boggling when it sued him in February for violating the CAN-SPAM Act and the FTC Act.

But spam was only part of the problem, the FTC said. Flora also was hawking purported mortgage-relief and debt-reduction “programs” — and trading on the name of the government and using the symbols of government to do so.

Spam recipients were instructed to visit a website known as loanmod-gov.net. The site “claimed to provide ‘Official Home Loan Modification and Audit Assistance Information,’ and displayed a photo of an American flag,” the FTC said.

To dial up the fraud, Flora also sold “leads” generated by his spamming to third parties.

The FTC and Flora have settled the case. Flora was hit with a judgment of $58,946 and enjoined from breaking the law. The judgment will be satisfied when Flora pays $32,000. The balance will be suspended because of Flora’s inability to pay, but will be reimposed if he lied about his financial affairs, the FTC said.

Flora agreed to a permanent injunction and the judgment without acknowledging he broke the law, according to the settlement agreement.

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