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Back in February, we wrote about Online Trading Academy (OTA), a company that peddled a “patented” training program promising to help people earn big money by paying  big money to OTA for trainings costing as much as $50,000. OTA’s lavish earnings claims often came with encouragement for people to go into debt to pay for OTA’s trainings. Today, we’re letting you know about a settlement that could mean big bucks in debt forgiveness for some people who owe consumer debts to OTA. 

The settlement announced today means that OTA has agreed to resolve the FTC’s claims that it used false or unsubstantiated earnings and related claims to sell its training programs. Under the settlement, the company cannot make statements about how much people who take its training can earn, unless it can support those claims as true and supported by evidence. It also cannot refer to its salespeople as “education counselors,” and has to make it clear that they’re paid on commission. And, OTA cannot use contracts that limit a customer’s ability to speak to the FTC or other law enforcement agencies about OTA and its programs, or to post honest reviews online.

Importantly, OTA has agreed to forgive consumer debt owed by some of the people who bought and financed training programs from OTA and delete the debt from their credit reports within 60 days. People who are eligible for debt forgiveness will get both an email and a letter from the OTA defendants explaining the debt forgiveness process. If you owe debt to any of the OTA corporate defendants (OTA Franchise Corporation, NEH Services, Inc., or Newport Exchange Holdings, Inc.), keep a close eye out for the email and letter, read them carefully, and take steps to contact OTA to get debt forgiveness, if you’re interested. 

Looking for more information about possible debt forgiveness and updates about the settlement? The FTC has a page with more information that you might want to bookmark for the most up-to-date information on this settlement.

And remember, any investment program or seminar that claims you can make a lot of money in a short time is a scam. Report these scams to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint and get tips on how to protect yourself by reading Investment and Opportunity Scams.

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