Announced Actions for February 17, 2004

For Your Information

Commission authorization to file consent in settlement of court action: The Commission has authorized the staff to file a consent order resolving the current court action against defendant Shaun Melville (FTC v. Abraham, EDCV 03-0030 VAP (SGLx) (C.D. Cal. 2003). The original complaint in this matter, filed as part of the FTC’s January 2003 law enforcement sweep “Operation License for Trouble,” alleged that the defendants marketed and sold fake international drivers’ permits (IDPs) over the Internet, via unsolicited e-mail and via inbound telemarketing. Melville was added as a defendant in April 2003. According to the Commission, the defendants misrepresented that consumers could drive legally using the permits, that the permits would insulate them from sanctions for traffic violations, and that they could be used as identification documents.

The stipulated final order, once approved by the court, bans Melville from promoting or selling IDPs or any other identification document. It also includes a $700,000 judgment against the defendant that has been suspended based on his inability to pay. The full judgment would be due, however, if Melville is found to have misrepresented his financial condition to the Commission.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to accept the consent in settlement of the court action was 5-0. (FTC File No. X030031; staff contact is Lemuel W. Dowdy, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2981; see press releases dated April 25, 2003; August 5, 2003; August 19, 2003; and November 25, 2003).

Release of Commission report: The FTC has approved the release of the Commission’s Sunshine Act Report for 2002. The government’s Sunshine Act (named because it is designed to shed light on federal agency operations) requires each affected agency to report annually to Congress about its compliance with the Act. Specifically, the report must contain: 1) the total number of agency meetings that were open to the public over the past year; 2) the total number of meetings closed to the public; 3) the reasons for closing such meetings; 4) a description of any litigation brought against the agency under the Act, including any costs assessed against the agency in such litigation; and 5) responses to additional questions detailed in a 1985 letter from two members of the Senate Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations.

The Commission vote to release the report to Congress was 5-0. It has been transmitted to the President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, and relevant Senate and House Subcommittee Chairmen, and also will be made part of the public record. Copies will be available soon from the FTC’s Web site or by calling the Consumer Response Center, toll-free, at 1-877-382-4357. (FTC File No. P859907; staff contact is Consuella R. Goosby, Office of the General Counsel; 202-326-2486; see previous press releases dated July 14, 2000; August 3, 2001; and May 31, 2002.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release 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, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2180