Patrick Donaghy, vice president of Stratified Advertising and Marketing, Inc., a Goleta, California- based firm that also does business as Intelinet Data Services ("Intelinet"), has agreed to settle charges the Federal Trade Commission filed against him in a federal court complaint, which also named Intelinet and his two co-owners, Robin L. Murphy and Thomas F. Frontera as defendants. Intelinet, a telemarketing company, advertised in newspapers throughout the United States soliciting people seeking government jobs, charging an advance fee of $59.50. The complaint alleged Intelinet falsely pitched the availability of government jobs in consumers’ chosen fields and geographic location and misrepresented to consumers the ease of obtaining a refund if they failed to obtain a job. The proposed settlement to the charges would prohibit Donaghy from making these kinds of representations in the future and from engaging in any telemarketing activities for the next ten years unless he first posts a performance bond.
June, the FTC brought charges in federal court against Intelinet and its owners as part of an enforcement sweep against nine companies and sixteen individuals alleged to be engaged in the fraudulent marketing of employment services for up-front fees of $35 to hundreds of dollars. The FTC charged that, in pitching their services, Intelinet’s salespeople told consumers that Intelinet would provide a list of government jobs that would be tailored to callers’ particular skills and/or expertise. The FTC also charged that the company misrepresented that the lists of jobs would reference positions in the city designated by the customer. Finally, the FTC alleged that Intelinet misrepresented to customers that if they did not obtain a job within a trial period, Intelinet would refund their money upon request.
The proposed settlement to these charges, which requires the court’s approval, would prohibit Donaghy from misrepresenting that any consumer will receive a list identifying jobs in a consumer’s chosen field and/or geographic location. Further, Donaghy would be prohibited from failing to clearly disclose any terms and conditions of obtaining a refund, in the event any refund policy is mentioned, and from falsely representing the conditions a consumer must satisfy in order to obtain a refund. Finally, Donaghy would be required to obtain -- for ten years-- a performance bond in the amount of $100,000 before engaging in any telemarketing activities. (Charges remain pending against the other two individual defendants; a default was entered against the corporate defendant for failing to file an answer responding to the FTC's complaint.)
The Commission vote to approve the settlement for filing was 5-0. The FTC filed the proposed settlement in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Oct. 15. The FTC’s Los Angeles Regional Office handled this matter. The FTC offers consumers a brochure with advice on using employment opportunity services. Single free copies are available from the address below.
NOTE: This consent judgment and order for permanent injunction is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. Consent judgments have the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the consent judgment, the consumer brochure, as well as other documents pertaining to "Operation Career Sweep" are available from the FTC’s Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710 FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC’s World Wide Web site at: http://www.ftc.gov
Office of Public Affairs
John D. Jacobs or Russell S. Deitch
Los Angeles Regional Office
11000 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 13209
Los Angeles, California 90024
(Civil Action No. 96- 4142 TJH (VAPx))
(FTC File No. X96 0067)