Government Imposter Used Threats to Sell Regulatory Posters
An operation that allegedly conned small businesses into paying for government-required regulatory posters will be banned from selling such materials, which government agencies provide for free.
The settlement resolves FTC charges brought in 2016, that the defendants pretended to be a federal agency and threatened to shut down or fine newly-opened businesses unless they bought occupational safety and other government-required posters for their premises. The court halted the operation pending litigation.
In addition to the ban on selling such posters, the order prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting that they are affiliated with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or any other agency, that consumers are required by law to buy goods or services, and any material facts about any good or service.
The order imposes a judgment of more than $3.8 million, which will be partially suspended upon the surrender of the defendants’ assets. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
The defendants are Sean K. Juhl; D&S Marketing Solutions LLC, also doing business as US Corporate Compliance Office, Office of Compliance and Safety Standards, and Occupational Safety and Compliance Administration; and Grand Marketing Solutions LLC, also d/b/a Employer Compliance and Safety Standards and Occupational Safety and Compliance Administration.
The FTC thanks the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Better Business Bureau of West Florida, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for their assistance in this case.
The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated order was 2-0. The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, entered the order on July 10, 2017.
NOTE: Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
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Source: U.S. Federal Trade Commission, FTC.gov