AmeriDebt founder settles with FTC over alleged hidden fees

Monday, January 9th 2006, 12:34 pm
By: News On 6

GREENBELT, Md. (AP) _ The founder of the credit counseling firm AmeriDebt settled a lawsuit with federal regulators Monday over $172 million in allegedly hidden fees the company collected from financially strapped debtors.

Andris Pukke agreed to pay $35 million to a fund that will be used to reimburse the roughly 300,000 customers that the Federal Trade Commission claimed AmeriDebt deceived. Pukke, who made a vast fortune off businesses that catered to customers in debt, is also barred from working in credit counseling, debt management or telemarketing.

The settlement came a day before a federal court in Greenbelt, Md. was set to hear the FTC's lawsuit against Pukke and a class action lawsuit filed against him by former AmeriDebt customers.