An Ohio federal judge on Monday ordered several debt counseling companies to fork over $5.7 million to consumers for allegedly using scripted telemarketers to lure people into signing debt consolidation contracts and then doing little or nothing to alleviate the debt.

Defendants Dan Michaels and James Benhaim were accused by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission of operating a series of related corporations in the U.S. and Canada; E.M.A. Nationwide, New Life Financial Solutions, and 1UC in the U.S.; and 7242701 Canada, 7242697 Canada, 7246293 Canada and 7246421 Canada in Canada.

U.S. District Judge James S. Gwin found they violated the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule through their business practices.

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