Editor’s Note: This is a press release sent to The Missouri Times by Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s office.
Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt announced today that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is sending payments to 244,745 consumers in the U.S. and abroad who were defrauded by the Next-Gen sweepstakes scheme that affected consumers in dozens of countries, including the United States and Canada. This victory comes after Missouri and the FTC’s 2018 complaint against the Next Gen defendants charged Kevin Brandes, William Graham, C. Floyd Anderson, and corporations under their control with sending tens of millions of deceptive personalized mailers to consumers around the world since 2013.https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/cases/next-gen_amended_complaint_9-25-18.pdf“I am proud of the role that Missouri played in obtaining this restitution for defrauded consumers in Missouri and worldwide,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “My office has worked diligently over the last few years to ensure that Missouri consumers are protected from fraudulent schemes, and to hold those responsible for that fraud accountable.” In total, $25 million is being returned to affected consumers, including many seniors. Some of the returned payments include: 221,687 checks totaling $19,180,753 to U.S. and Canadian consumers; 3,516 prepaid Mastercard debit cards totaling $631,322 to consumers in the United Kingdom which will be hand-delivered by U.K. National Trading Standards, a consumer protection and business safeguards organization; and 19,542 letters to consumers in more than 50 different countries explaining how they can claim their payments via PayPal, which total $4,696,242. A total of 2,587 Missouri consumers will receive a total restitution amount of $182,591.03. The defendants’ mailers had falsely told recipients they had won or were likely to win a substantial cash prize, as much as $2 million, in exchange for a fee ranging from $9.00 to $139.99. Many consumers, including seniors, paid the defendants several times before realizing they had been scammed, according to the complaint. The deadline for consumers to cash their checks or claim their PayPal payments is October 17, 2022. Debit cards have a two-year expiration date and can be reissued without charge. Recipients who have questions about their refund should contact the refund administrator, Rust Consulting, at 1-833-721-2728 or 1-612-509-2644 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Commission never requires people to pay money or provide account information to get a refund. The original 2018 complaint filed by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the FTC can be found here: