Friday, November 9, 2012
Texas Attorney General Resolves Consumer Finance Fraud Investigation into BlueHippo FirmsAUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today announced the resolution of the State’s investigation into a now-bankrupt Maryland-based telemarketing business that unlawfully marketed personal computers to low-income purchasers. Under an agreed judgment issued today by a state district court in Travis County, Joseph K. Rensin, the sole shareholder of the former BlueHippo computer sales operations, was ordered to pay $175,000 in restitution for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. Texans who were defrauded by BlueHippo are eligible for reimbursement from the restitution fund established by the State. Attorney General Abbott issued the following statement:
“The BlueHippo firms violated state law when it took Texans’ money and refused to deliver the computers or equipment customers purchased. The State’s investigation also showed that BlueHippo unlawfully refused to honor refund requests and withdrew payments from customers’ bank accounts without their permission. Today’s court order requires the defendants to pay $175,000 in restitution so that Texans who were defrauded by BlueHippo can seek reimbursement for financial losses they suffered because of the defendants’ unlawful conduct.”
In addition to ordering restitution, the court issued a permanent injunction prohibiting Rensin or his businesses from attempting to collect approximately $2.3 million in debts that Texans incurred because of their dealings with BlueHippo. The court also barred Rensin and his businesses from reporting Texas customers’ nonpayment of the debt to any of the nation’s credit reporting agencies.
The Texas Attorney General’s Office will administer the restitution fund created under today’s court order. Texans who previously purchased products from BlueHippo may be eligible for reimbursement from the restitution fund by submitting the attached claim form within 90 days of today’s date. After all restitution applications have been received and the application deadline has elapsed, eligible customers will be allotted a share of the restitution fund on a prorata basis.