LOS ANGELES — A federal judge granted default judgment against two married recidivists in Los Angeles who ran half a dozen phony debt relief businesses, including mortgage rescue, and ordered them to disgorge $2.3 million and other frozen assets.
The Federal Trade Commission settled with Tobias West and Komal West and their companies in May. The July 12 order from U.S. District Judge Otis Wright also bars the Wests and their companies from “representing the benefits or performance of a product or service unless it is not misleading and based on evidence,” and prohibits them from “profiting from consumers’ personal information and failing to dispose of it properly.”
The Wests and their companies, including Good EBusiness, Student Loan Help Direct, Select Student Loan, Select Student Loan Help, and Select Document Preparation charged up to $5,000 a pop for bogus student and home loan relief services, the FTC said in its sealed complaint in February. It said the Komals violated federal laws by “preying on financially struggling consumers and promising to make their mortgage or student loan payments substantially lower by renegotiating with their lender — but without ever having any intention of actually doing so.” the FTC claimed.
If they did bother to do anything, the Wests and their companies often posed as their clients and entered into forbearance deals with lenders, without telling the clients they did so, or that they would be on the hook for interest payments that for many clients totaled thousands of dollars, according to the FTC.