The Federal Trade Commission has finalized an order against Electronic Payment Systems for allegedly opening credit card processing merchant accounts for fictitious companies on behalf of Money Now Funding, a business opportunity scam that the FTC previously sued. By ignoring warning signs that the merchants were fake, Electronic Payment Systems assisted Money Now Funding in laundering millions of dollars of consumers’ credit card payments to the scammers from 2012 to 2013.
In an administrative complaint filed in March 2022, the FTC alleged that Electronic Payment Systems facilitated the Money Now Founding scam by creating 43 different merchant accounts for fictitious companies on behalf of Money Now Funding, allowing the scammers to run more than $4.6 million in consumer credit card charges through those accounts. The practice of processing credit card transactions through another company’s merchant accounts is known as credit card laundering.
The complaint also outlined ways in which Electronic Payment Systems employees turned a blind eye to the credit card laundering, and even gave advice to Money Now Funding on how to spread charges among different accounts to evade detection.
The FTC is ordering Electronic Payment Systems, and its owners John Dorsey and Thomas McCann, to make a number of substantial changes to their processes that will ensure they do not further harm consumers moving forward. The FTC is not able to obtain a monetary judgment in this case because of the Supreme Court’s decision in AMG Capital Management v. FTC.
Under the terms of the settlement order, Electronic Payment Systems, Dorsey, and McCann would be:
- Prohibited from credit card laundering: The defendants would be prohibited from credit card laundering and any other actions to evade fraud and risk monitoring programs.
- Prohibited from working with certain merchants: The defendants would be prohibited from providing payment processing services to any merchant that is, or is likely to be, engaged in deceptive or misleading conduct, and any merchant that credit card industry monitoring programs have flagged as high-risk for certain reasons.
- Required to screen potential merchants: The defendants would be required to conduct detailed screening of potential merchants who conduct outgoing telemarketing or are engaged in certain activities that could harm consumers.
The Commission voted 4-0 to approve the complaint and settlement order.