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Federal Trade Commission v. U.S. Homeowners Relief

December 1, 2011

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
U.S. HOMEOWNERS RELIEF, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Josephine Staton Tucker United States District Judge

STIPULATED FINAL JUDGMENT AND ORDER FOR PERMANENT INJUNCTION AND OTHER EQUITABLE RELIEF AS TO DEFENDANT MACIE MEJECO BAIN

Plaintiff Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") commenced this civil action on September 27, 2010, pursuant to Sections 13(b) and 19 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 53(b) and 57b, and the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, 15 U.S.C. § 6101 et seq., to obtain preliminary and permanent injunctive and other equitable relief for Defendants' alleged violations of Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, and the Telemarketing Sales Rule ("TSR"), 16 C.F.R. Part 310, in connection with the marketing and sale of mortgage assistance relief services. On September 28, 2010, the Court entered an ex parte Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO") that included, among other things, appointment of a temporary receiver, an asset freeze, and immediate access to Defendants' business premises. The court terminated the receivership on November 9, 2010. The FTC and Defendant Macie Mejeco Bain ("Settling Defendant") hereby stipulate to the entry of this Stipulated Final Judgment and Order for Permanent Injunction and Other Equitable Relief ("Order").

FINDINGS

By stipulation of the parties and being advised of the premises, the Court finds:

1. This is an action by the FTC instituted under Sections 13(b) and 19 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 53(b) and 57b. The Complaint seeks both permanent injunctive relief and equitable monetary relief for the Settling Defendant's alleged deceptive acts or practices as alleged therein.

2. The FTC has the authority under Sections 13(b) and 19 of the FTC Act to seek the relief it has requested, and the Complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted against the Settling Defendant.

3. This Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this case and has jurisdiction over the Settling Defendant. Venue in the Central District of California is proper.

4. The activities of the Settling Defendant, as alleged in the Complaint, are in or affecting commerce, as defined in Section 4 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 44.

5. The FTC and the Settling Defendant stipulate and agree to entry of this Order, without trial or final adjudication of any issue of fact or law, to settle and resolve all matters in dispute arising from the conduct of the Settling Defendant alleged in the Complaint to the date of entry of this Order. This settlement does not settle and resolve any matters not alleged in the Complaint. The Settling Defendant does not admit any of the allegations set forth in the Complaint, other than the jurisdictional facts, merely by stipulating and agreeing to the entry of this Order.

6. The Settling Defendant waives all rights to seek judicial review or otherwise challenge or contest the validity of this Order. The Settling Defendant also waives any claim that she may have held under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412, concerning the prosecution of this action to the date of this Order. The Settling Defendant shall bear her own costs and attorneys fees.

7. This action and the relief awarded herein are in addition to, and not in lieu of, other remedies as may be provided by law, including both civil and criminal remedies.

8. Entry of this Order is in the public interest. ORDER

Definitions

For purposes of this Order, the following definitions shall apply:

1. "Asset" or "Assets" means any legal or equitable interest in, right to, or claim to any real or personal property, including, but not limited to, "goods," "instruments," "equipment," "fixtures," "general intangibles," "inventory," "checks," or "notes" (as these terms are defined in the Uniform Commercial Code), lines of credit, chattels, leaseholds, contracts, mail or other deliveries, shares of stock, lists of consumer names, accounts, credits, premises, receivables, funds, and all cash, wherever located.

2. "Assisting others" includes, but is not limited to:

a. performing customer service functions including, but not limited to, receiving or responding to consumer complaints;

b. formulating or providing, or arranging for the formulation or provision of, any advertising or marketing material, including, but not limited to, any telephone sales script, direct mail solicitation, or the text of any Internet website, email, or other electronic communication;

c. formulating or providing, or arranging for the formulation or provision of, any marketing support material or service, including but not limited to, web or Internet Protocol addresses or domain name registration for any Internet websites, affiliate marketing services, or media placement services;

d. providing names of, or assisting in the generation of, potential customers;

e. performing marketing, billing, or payment services of any kind; and

f. acting or serving as an owner, officer, director, manager, or principal of any entity.

3. "Competent and reliable evidence" means tests, analyses, research, studies, or other evidence based on the expertise of professionals in the relevant area, that has been conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by persons qualified to do so, using procedures generally accepted in the profession to yield accurate and reliable results.

4. "Consumer" means any natural person. 5. "Customer" means any person who has paid, or may be required to pay, for products, services, plans, or programs offered for sale or sold by any other person.

6. "Debt relief product or service" means any product, service, plan, or program represented, expressly or by implication, to renegotiate, settle, or in any way alter the terms of payment or other terms of the debt or obligation, including but not limited to a tax debt or obligation, between a person and one or more unsecured creditors or debt collectors, including but not limited to, a reduction in the balance, interest rate, or fees owed by a person to an unsecured creditor or debt collector.

7. "Defendants" means U.S. Homeowners Relief, Inc., also d/b/a Greenleaf and Greenleaf Modify; Waypoint Law Group, Inc.; American Lending Review, Inc., also d/b/a American Law Center; New Life Solutions, Inc.; D.G.C. Consulting, LLC; DLD Consulting, LLC; Paul Bain; Macie Bain; Aminullah Sarpas; and Damon Grant Carriger.

8. "Document" is synonymous in meaning and equal in scope to the usage of the term in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 34(a), and includes writings, drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, audio and video recordings, computer records, and other data compilations from which the information can be obtained and translated, if necessary, through detection devices into reasonably usable form. A draft or non-identical copy is a separate document within the meaning of the term.

9. "Federal homeowner relief or financial stability program" means any program (including its sponsoring agencies, telephone numbers, and Internet websites) operated or endorsed by the United States government to provide relief to homeowners or stabilize the economy, including but not limited to:

a. the Making Home Affordable Program;

b. the Financial Stability Plan;

c. the Troubled Asset Relief Program and any other program sponsored or operated by the United States Department of the Treasury;

d. the HOPE for Homeowners program, any program operated or created pursuant to the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, and any other program sponsored or operated by the Federal Housing Administration; or

e. any program sponsored or operated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), the HOPE NOW Alliance, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, or any other HUD-approved housing counseling agency.

10. "Financial related product or service" means any product, service, plan, or program represented, expressly or by implication, to:

a. provide any consumer, arrange for any consumer to receive, or assist any consumer in receiving, credit, debit, or stored value cards;

b. improve, or arrange to improve, any consumer's credit record, credit history, or credit rating;

c. provide advice or assistance to any consumer with regard to any activity or service the purpose of which is to improve a consumer's credit record, credit history, or credit rating;

d. provide any consumer, arrange for any consumer to receive, or assist any consumer in receiving, a loan or other extension of credit; or

e. provide any consumer, arrange for any consumer to receive, or assist any consumer in receiving any service represented, expressly or by implication, to renegotiate, settle, or in any way alter the terms of payment or other terms of the debt or obligation, including but not limited to a tax debt or obligation, between a consumer and one or more secured creditors, servicers, or debt collectors.

11. "Material" means likely to affect a person's choice of, or conduct regarding, goods or services.

12. "Mortgage assistance relief product or service" means any product, service, plan, or program, offered or provided to the consumer in exchange for consideration, that is represented, expressly or by implication, to assist or attempt to assist the consumer with any of the following:

a. stopping, preventing, or postponing any mortgage or deed of trust foreclosure sale for the consumer's dwelling, any repossession of the consumer's dwelling, or otherwise saving the consumer's dwelling from foreclosure or repossession;

b. negotiating, obtaining, or arranging a modification of any term of a dwelling loan, including a reduction in the amount of interest, principal balance, monthly payments, or fees;

c. obtaining any forbearance or modification in the timing of payments from any dwelling loan holder or ...


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