A mother and son scam team is settling with the Federal Trade Commission after they allegedly tricked Spanish-speakers into buying fake medical discount cards.
According to the FTC, Constanza Gomez Vargas, Walter S. Vargas and their company United Solutions Group Inc told consumers they were buying a qualified health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act. The duo specifically targeted people who needed health insurance or were paying high premiums for coverage because they were unemployed or had pre-existing medical conditions.
“We’re putting this operation out of business,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The FTC complaint said consumers were told the purchased insurance would pay for doctor and emergency room visits. However, they only received the fake discount cards.
This left consumers without insurance, despite paying an enrollment fee and monthly payments ranging from $99 to several hundred dollars.
The Vargas will have to pay a fine of $2.1 million to the FTC, which will be suspended once the government agency receives payment of $17,616 and the transfer of two Mercedes Benz cars.