BrightSpeed Solutions, Inc. and Kevin Howard
On March 3, 2021, the Bureau filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against BrightSpeed Solutions, Inc. (BrightSpeed) and its founder and former chief executive officer, Kevin Howard. BrightSpeed was a privately-owned, third-party payment processor based in Chicago, Illinois. Howard founded BrightSpeed in 2015 and ran the company until he wound it down in March 2019. The Bureau alleges that between 2016 and 2018, Howard and BrightSpeed knowingly processed payments for companies that purported to offer technical-support services and products over the internet, but actually tricked consumers into purchasing expensive and unnecessary antivirus software or services. The Bureau alleges that Howard’s and BrightSpeed’s actions were unfair practices in violation of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010 and deceptive telemarketing practices in violation of the Telemarketing Sales Rule. The Bureau’s complaint seeks injunctions against BrightSpeed and Howard, as well as damages, redress to consumers, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and the imposition of civil money penalties.