Vaughn M. Williams, III and Warner Green have been banned under default judgments, and John S. Dickson has agreed to be banned, from selling any medical billing or other work-at-home job opportunities, or any business venture, as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC had filed a complaint in federal district court alleging that Encore Networking Services deceptively marketed a medical billing work-at-home program. According to the complaint, the defendants typically made false promises that consumers would earn a specific amount of money, such as $3 to $5 per claim that they processed, and that Encore would supply a list of doctors with whom the company had already had contractual or established relationships. In addition to the bans, the default judgments prohibit Williams and Green, and the proposed settlement would also prohibit Dickson, from falsely representing any material fact in connection with the sale of any other product or service.
The case against Encore was filed in February 2000 as part of "Project Biz-illion$," a multi-prong attack by the FTC, the Justice Department and law enforcement officials from 29 states on traditional get-rich-quick business opportunity and employment scams. The FTC's complaint named Vaughn M. Williams, III, d/b/a Encore Networking Services; John S. Dickson, a/k/a Charley Yates, also d/b/a Encore; and Warner Green, d/b/a Encore and d/b/a Warner Communications Systems & Company. The complaint alleged that the defendants misrepresented the earnings consumers would realize, the existence of established relationships with doctors, and an unconditional refund policy.
The default judgments against Williams and Green, and the proposed Dickson settlement which requires the court's approval, prohibit the defendants, in connection with the sale of similar opportunities or any business ventures, from misrepresenting earnings, the existence of established relationships with doctors, or unconditional refunds. In addition, Williams and Green are prohibited, and Dickson would be prohibited, from using or disclosing to any person any customer information he had access to prior to entry of the order, in connection with the marketing and sale of Encore's work-at-home employment program. Finally, the proposed settlement contains various recordkeeping provisions to assist the FTC in monitoring defendants' compliance.
The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the proposed Dickson settlement was 5-0. The stipulated final judgment and order was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, in Los Angeles, on August 2, 2000, and the default judgments were entered by the court on September 25, 2000.
NOTE: The stipulated final judgment and order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. Consent judgments have the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the release, proposed settlement and default judgments will be available shortly from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 202-326-2502. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
Office of Public Affairs
Thomas Cohn or Ann Weintraub
Northeast Region - New York
(FTC File No. X000048)
(Civil Action No. 00-1083 WJR (AIJx)