After extensive court proceedings, the FTC settled with four defendants and won summary judgment against 25 individual and corporate defendants who used websites to falsely claim they could help consumers get free government grant money. According to the FTC, “the website operators sold many products online, including Grant Connect which they described as a ‘unique consumer-friendly US government grant program that delivers all of the tools for the consumer to search multiple databases, write grant proposals, and deliver polished plans.’ “ The websites showed pictures of the President and the American flag to make consumers think they were affiliated with the U.S. government, which they were not.
In a Press Release dated May 9, 2013, the FTC announced that the refund administrator for this case, Gilardi & Co., LLC, began mailing refund checks totaling approximately $1.7 million to 22,764 consumers who were defrauded. Consumers will receive varying amounts based on how much money they lost, but most consumers will recover almost 80 percent of their total loss. Refund checks must be cashed within 60 days of the date received.
Under the terms of the settlement and summary judgment, the defendants are banned from selling grant-related products and from selling products or services with an automatically recurring fee.
Consumers with questions about the refund program may call Gilardi’s hotline number 1-877-230-7552 or go to the FTC’s Consumer Information website for general information about the refund program.
The federal government has a website—www.grants.gov—where consumers can find and apply for federal grants for free.
For more information you can trust, visit evansville.bbb.org & see: