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West Bend man to pay $10,000 in contest fraud settlement

WEST BEND, WI (WTAQ) - A West Bend man will pay $10,000 to settle allegations that he defrauded Americans in a contest scam.

The Federal Trade Commission said it originally ordered Jason Cruz to pay back the entire $185,000 that he bilked. But the FTC said he didn't have the money, so Cruz will pay the government back in other ways -- including his cooperation in the agency's future consumer investigations.

The government said Cruz sent at least 14 million deceptive text messages to consumers around the country. He said they won I-Pads and $1,000 gift cards to Walmart and Best Buy -- but to win the prizes, the consumers had to go on a fraudulent Web site where they had to buy, "questionable products and services" with monthly charges.

A number of people took the bait -- even though authorities have constantly tried to remind us that we cannot win contests we don't enter, and a legitimate contest will never charge you a cent to collect a prize.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)