Appeals Court Upholds Ruling Against Defendant Who Assisted Grant Writers' Institute Scheme; Order to Pay $1.68 Million to Defrauded Consumers Survives Challenge

For Your Information

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has upheld a district court judgment in favor of the Federal Trade Commission and four state attorneys general against a woman who assisted and facilitated a scheme that deceived consumers by falsely promising them a “guaranteed” $25,000 grant from the federal government.

In September 2011, after a two-day trial, the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas ruled in favor of the FTC and the states of Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota and North Carolina, and ordered Meggie Chapman to pay $1.68 million in consumer redress for assisting and facilitating the government-grant scheme. The final court order against Chapman bans her from marketing money-making opportunities to individuals in the future.  It also prohibits her from misrepresenting information about any products or services being offered for sale, failing to disclose information that is material to a consumer’s decision to make a purchase, and making any false or misleading statement in an attempt to induce anyone into buying a product or service.

In May 2013, the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s final judgment, which found that Chapman had violated the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule. The Court of Appeals found that Chapman “played an integral part” assisting and facilitating the grant-related telemarketing scheme.  The Court also denied Chapman’s post-judgment motion to amend or alter the monetary judgment against her.

Copies of the appellate court ruling can be found on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release. The ruling announced today was issued against Meggie Chapman, individually and doing business as Meggie Chapman & Associates. (FTC File No. X090073; Civ. No. 5:09-cv-04104-JAR-KGS (D. Kan.); Case No. 11-3319 (10th Cir.); the staff contact is Gary L. Ivens, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2330.)

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.  To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).  The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

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