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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 and get tips on how to protect yourself by reading Investment and Opportunity Scams.

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September 15, 2020
Why isn’t the FTC going after the OTA franchises? They are doing the same. you can’t use the main program for 90 days, And after 30 days you can’t get a refund.
September 16, 2020

In reply to by Josh64057

OTA are good talkers. And still doing there scam talk. They pulled the wool over FTC eyes. Getting off way too light. Should be paying back everyone. Not just debt forgiveness.
September 15, 2020
OH lord i almost got scam by these guys OTA i went to there in class session paid $300's and they tell you all the good things brainwash but i knew a bit about trading and how hard it is to master this, im glad did not pull the trigger they will try to convince you to take the loan, hope these people get their debt forgive and OTA pay the price .
Scam broke
September 16, 2020
What about those who financed but don't owe. We paid off our loan $25,000.
Scam victim
September 21, 2020

In reply to by Scam broke

The same situation, I paid off all that I owe, but I want my money back, is there any action we should take to have refund ?
September 16, 2020
Similar comment as a prior respondent. The OTA Franchisee's engage in the same deceptive practices as Corporate. Why are the Franchise operations not held to the same standard and included in this settlement?
September 16, 2020
If online trading academy is such a scam and its tools don’t even work, what is the point ? All of us should get 100% of our money back as this was promised to be a lifetime membership of such a scam.
September 16, 2020
What a scam , waste of money and time . Why none of the crooks Inckuding counselors are in jail ?
September 16, 2020
Hello, I am an OTA student too. I what about students who already paid off for the tuition, will they get some type of reimbursement?
FTC Staff
September 16, 2020

In reply to by Mano

The settlement will refund some money and forgive the debts of some people who bought OTA’s training programs. Read the questions and answers about the case to learn more. You can subscribe to get email updates about the settlement.

September 16, 2020
I am one of the mastermind mind students of OTA for more than a year and l took some of their signature series too. I am only loosing money.
September 16, 2020
Do you know how long it took me to take $50,000 ? They took it all. This company is surrounded by other partners in this crime and hope they get caught too.
Poorer by ota
September 16, 2020
Would FTC alert foreign authorities where they have franchises ? They won’t stop otherwise. Should we ? Feel really sick. Sad part is the system they teach is a balooney.
Clik click
September 16, 2020
“trading data showed that most purchasers made little to no money.” Give me 100% of my money back including interest and you should be punished to the extreme for robbing us and buying Bentley and private airplanes on our dime where we had to even pay 17% interest from hard earned money. Shame on you. Your next chapter should be going to jail.
FTC Staff
September 18, 2020

In reply to by American greed

The FTC will return as much money as possible to some people who paid for OTA’s training programs.

Some people took out financing to pay for the program and other people paid up front. If you took out financing to pay for the program, you may be eligible for debt forgiveness. 

Even if you are not eligible for debt forgiveness, you may get a refund of some of the money you paid. We will know more about refunds after we have heard from people who ask for debt forgiveness.Learn more at

Bentley Cessna
September 16, 2020
“Shahar agreed to pay, according to the commission, “$8.3 million and surrender a number of vehicles to the commission, including a Cessna 400 airplane, a 2006 Bentley Mulsanne, a luxury motor home, a Cadillac Escalade and six minivans”
OTA student
September 17, 2020
I lose all my savings and lose investment based on worthless junk they teach . OTA, my counselor and teacher lied and lied. This is sad and I need all my money back and not just paltry sum that maybe remaining to pay. This was lifetime and I have at least half of my life ahead so they should proportionately refund my money at least if not full or on usage to date .
OTA Virginia Victim
September 17, 2020
Is the OTA in Arlington VA included in this Settlement? I paid $22K out of retirement money 2020 and hope to get it back. I tried asking for refund earlier and was given very generic response. All franchises fall under the headquarters in CA, therefore, believe answer is yes. Additionally think I shouldn’t be penalized for paying off with retirement funds while debt forgiveness for others.
September 17, 2020
I have a credit card debts which I took to pay out of the OTAs training program. At that time my bank offered less interest than OTA's financial institutes. I’ve lost my Job due to of Covid-19 and I cannot pay my debt to the bank. Do I eligible for forgiveness of my debts?
September 18, 2020
Are students who cancelled eligible for refunds?
September 21, 2020
How many Mastermind students are affected nationwide ? how many Mastermind students paid off there loans within 90 days or less ?? I assume the clock starts to tick March 14, 2017 ? did the Federal Trade Commission do head count of Mastermind students ??
September 22, 2020
Agreed they're hiding assets and the FTC bought it but why are they not stopped from asking for a list of your assets on the pretense to help you invest when they're using it to con you. They should not be allowed to give you that sheet to "steal" your financial info and then mark you. They kept calling me because I disclosed mine but my friend had no assets and she never got a call back.
Frustrated in KC
August 20, 2021
After many attempts to make profits following their strategy, I finally gave it up. About $15,000 in “classes” and $5,000 lost in trades. I got my measly little $121 check from them in mail today from the settlement. I still hear their ads on the radio and even their promotions of the trading classes. Sure wish I had my $15,000 back. Fool me once, shame on you. You won’t fool me twice OTA.
August 20, 2021

In reply to by Frustrated in KC

I think we should all be reimbursed for our tuition. It was a scam and we were lied to. We paid off our tuition since the interest was so high so are not ENTITLED to a loan forgiveness. Let’s fight back together. I am insulted that we were sent a check for $128.00 when we were “taken” for over $40,000!!
August 20, 2021
We also were promised that if we at least followed the Pro-Picks we would make money! $40K later NOTHING! I would like to see who wants to join us in a group effort to hire an attorney to get our money back!!!
August 24, 2021
I just received a paltry check compared to the $14,000 I paid for the course. I would like to know why Online Trading Academy wasn't put out of business for outright fraud. Am I eligible for debt forgiveness? No one from OTA has contacted me. I was following this case closely in 2020. But 2020 happened, and I was busy working, etc.
Monty & Kobe
August 25, 2021
So is there a way to get a full refund that I paid to the financing company? That will be my next job to figure out how to get my money back from this scam. Glad this was brought to my attention as I had no idea this was going on.
September 03, 2021

In reply to by Monty & Kobe

This is unbelievable. I paid 20k and got a refund for $100. Every single person that bought into this must receive a full refund. Seriously, how do we start a class action lawsuit?