The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today announced that Henry Nolan Kelly, referred to officially as an “Internet marketer,” has agreed to settle with the organization on allegations that he sent US consumers over 20 million spam text messages about “free” iPhones and iPads. A monetary judgment of $60,950 was also imposed on Kelly, but he won’t be paying as he doesn’t have the funds.
“The financial judgment is suspended due to Kelly’s inability to pay,” the FTC says. That must be frustrating for both the organization and affected Americans given that Kelly made exactly $60,950 in connection with his text message spamming scam. Instead, the scammer has been simply ordered to cooperate with the FTC in future investigations.
The FTC says Kelly was part of a series of complaints the organization filed in March against those responsible for sending millions of spam text messages to consumers with false promises of free gift cards or expensive electronic devices. He will presumably be helping the FTC with its inquiries into other groups and individuals employing this practice.
The scammer is also being banned from a few activities, none of which are legal in the first place:
The stipulated final order against Kelly prohibits him from having any involvement with the sending of unsolicited or unwanted text messages to consumers. In addition, Kelly will be prohibited from misleading consumers about whether they have won gifts or prizes, whether a product is “free,” and from using text messages to do the same.
In his text messages, Kelly included links that, when clicked, requested substantial personal information and required an “elaborate process” (including sometimes making other purchases or buying paid subscriptions) to be eligible for the “free” devices. Unsurprisingly, the iPhones and iPads were never handed out.