FTC consumer chief seeks jail for 'rescue' schemers

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As many Americans spiraled deeper into financial disrepair last year, a record number of consumers fell victim to companies seeking to profit from their misfortune, according to the federal governments consumer complaints report released Wednesday.

Last year, distressed homeowners became particularly vulnerable to financial rescue schemes, the complaints data show. Companies that, for instance, offer mortgage modifications or foreclosure relief programs generated one consumer complaint in 2008 — and nearly 8,000 in 2009.