FTC to Recover Almost $560,000 from Bogus Medical Billing Scheme Victimizing Consumers Hoping to Work from Home

Promoters Banned For Life From Telemarketing

For Your Information

Data Medical Capital, Inc., and its principal, Bryan D'Antonio, will be permanently banned from selling business ventures, employment opportunities or work-at-home opportunities, and from telemarketing as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The Commission had alleged that the defendants were engaged in a scheme to sell bogus work-at-home medical billing opportunities. The proposed settlement, which requires the court's approval, also includes a monetary payment in excess of $559,000 to be used for consumer redress.

"The ability to make a decent living working from home would be a dream come true for many young parents and people who have difficulty leaving the house, such as some people with disabilities and seniors," said Howard Beales, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "Unfortunately, the dream in this case did not come true. The fact is that few consumers who purchase a medical billing business opportunity are able to find clients, start a business and generate revenues. Consumers should be very skeptical of pitches for work-at-home opportunities that sound too good to be true."

In October 1999, the FTC filed a complaint in federal district court against Data Medical Capital, Inc., also doing business as Datamed and MedCo, and Bryan D'Antonio a/k/a Brian D'Antonio, alleging that they misrepresented their medical billing work-at-home opportunities by bolstering false earnings claims and misrepresented the assistance that consumers would receive in getting medical billing work. According to the FTC, the defendants promised consumers that they could earn a minimum of $23,400 per year by using their home computers to process medical bills for physicians with whom the defendants had established relationships. The court issued a temporary restraining order with asset freeze against the defendants.

In addition to the ban from engaging in the sale of business ventures, employment opportunities, or work-at-home opportunities and telemarketing, the proposed settlement would also require the defendants to stop any collection attempts and to return any uncashed checks to consumers. The defendants would also be prohibited from selling their customer lists. Finally, the proposed settlement contains various recordkeeping and reporting requirements to assist the FTC in monitoring the defendants' compliance.

The Commission vote authorizing staff to file the stipulated final judgment was 5-0. It was filed in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Southern Division, in Santa Ana, on July 6, 2001, and requires the court's approval.

NOTE: This stipulated final judgment is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. The stipulated judgment has the force of law when signed by the judge.

Copies of the stipulated final judgment are available 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. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at www.ftc.gov . The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Jennifer Larabee
Western Region - Los Angeles
310-824-4343

Janice Charter
Western Region - San Francisco
415-848-5100

(FTC File No. X000001)
(Civil Action No. SA-CV-99-1266 AHS (EEx))

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