COLUMBUS — A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday against two companies accused in a telemarketing scheme, according to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.
Yost claims the companies, Educare Centre Services and Madera Merchant Services, defrauded millions of dollars from people struggling with credit card debt, including about 450 Ohioans.
“Telemarketers aren’t just a pain in the neck, they can also be a pain in your bank account,” Yost said.
Yost said he contacted the Federal Trade Commission after realizing the scheme extended beyond Ohio’s borders.
Ohio’s AG and the FTC worked together on a pair of complaints that went before a federal judge in El Paso, Texas, according to a news release.
The complaints allege that Educare offered customers the opportunity to consolidate credit cards for lower interest rates “through millions of robocalls.” Yost said the company is not registered with his office as a telephone solicitor and “appears to provide no legitimate services to customers.”
The attorney general’s office said the 450 Ohio victims lost about $300,000 combined.
According to Yost, Madera works as a third-party processor that charges consumer checking accounts on behalf of Educare using remotely created checks — also known as demand drafts or “RCPOs.”
This practice is prohibited.
“Fraudulent merchants can use remotely created checks to create unsigned checks that access a consumer’s bank account without authorization,” the news release said.
The complaints filed in court are seeking restitution for the victims, as well as a court order to stop the alleged scheme.