Attorney General Becerra Calls on Supreme Court to Allow Federal Trade Commission to Continue Protecting Consumers

Monday, December 7, 2020
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

Amicus brief supports FTC’s ability to obtain restitution

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today joined a bipartisan multistate coalition of 30 attorneys general calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) authority to return illegally acquired money to victims of scams. In an amicus brief in AMG Capital Management v. FTC, the attorneys general argue that the FTC’s ability to recover victims' money from the defendant is essential to deterring illegal conduct and to supplement the states' efforts in protecting consumers. The FTC pursues restitution for various types of deceptive business practices, including internet scams, robocalls and phony debt collectors.

“The ability to obtain restitution is an essential tool for enforcement agencies to deter businesses from engaging in deceptive practices and to help victims of fraud move on with their lives," said Attorney General Becerra. "We’re proud of our longtime partnership with the Federal Trade Commission in these efforts, and we’re calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the agency’s authority to use this critical consumer protection tool. Revoking the FTC's ability to collect restitution will harm victims of fraud in California and across the nation.”

In AMG Capital Management v. FTC, the FTC sued a predatory lender under the Federal Trade Commission Act. The FTC won, and secured a court order requiring the defendant to return the $1.27 billion in unlawful finance charges collected from consumers. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that, under the Federal Trade Commission Act, the FTC can request – and the court has the authority to order – restitution to consumers. However, another federal appellate court reached the opposite conclusion. The U.S. Supreme Court granted review in this case to resolve the split.  

Today's amicus brief highlights how the FTC and the state attorneys general frequently collaborate in litigation and other enforcement efforts to secure restitution for consumers across the country. If the FTC lost its ability to seek restitution in its cases, the California Department of Justice would have one less federal partner in protecting consumers by recouping their money.

In filing the brief, Attorney General Becerra joins the attorneys general of Illinois, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the brief is available here. 

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