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Yost Announces Ban on Payment Processing for Texas Business With Ties to Scammers

6/10/2020

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced today that a Texas business has agreed to a permanent ban on payment processing to settle allegations that it helped scammers defraud millions of dollars from Americans.
 
The settlement with Madera Merchant Services LLC and its operators, Bruce Woods, Patricia Woods and Victor Rodriguez, is the result of a joint complaint filed in federal court by Yost’s office and the Federal Trade Commission in 2019.
 
“The people who handle the money are just as culpable as the ones who do the bad acts,” Yost said. “We promised to go after every link in the deceptive robocall chain, and we’re making good on it.”
 
The complaint alleged that Madera Merchant Services, also known as B&P Enterprises, operated as a third-party payment processor, charging consumer checking accounts on behalf of unscrupulous telemarketers.
 
One of those telemarketers, Educare Centre Services, was allegedly behind a flood of robocalls that misled victims with false promises of consolidated credit services. Madera processed more than $11.8 million in transactions for Educare, which remains the subject of a separate lawsuit.
 
Madera processed consumer payments using remotely created checks, also known as demand drafts or RCPOs, to withdraw funds from consumers’ checking accounts. However, the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule prohibits telemarketers from using remotely created checks as payments for goods or services. Fraudulent merchants can use remotely created checks to create unsigned checks that access a consumer’s bank account without authorization.
 
According to the settlement, Madera is barred from all payment processing activities and from violating the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and federal telemarketing laws. The business and its operators also are required to forfeit the contents of several bank accounts, along with personal assets.
 
Consumers who suspect an unfair or deceptive sales practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Dominic Binkley: 614-728-4127

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