UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,

v.

TOYS UNLIMITED INTERNATIONAL, INC., a Delaware Corporation;

ROBERT G. GARROW, individually and as an officer of the corporation; and

ANDREW B. MOSS, individually, and

BRYAN MYLETT, individually, Defendants.



CIV-HIGHSMITH
Case No. 97-08592

FIRST AMENDED
COMPLAINT FOR CIVIL PENALTIES, CONSUMER REDRESS, PERMANENT INJUNCTION, AND OTHER EQUITABLE RELIEF


Plaintiff, the United States of America, acting upon notification and authorization to the Attorney General by the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC" or "the Commission"), pursuant to Section 16(a)(1) of the Federal Trade Commission Act ("FTC Act"), 15 U.S.C.  56(a)(1), for its Complaint alleges:

1. Plaintiff brings this action under Sections 5(a)(1), 5(m)(1)(A), 13(b), 16(a), and 19 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a)(1), 45(m)(1)(A), 53(b), 56(a), and 57b, to secure civil penalties, consumer redress, a permanent injunction and other equitable relief for defendants' violations of the FTC's Trade Regulation Rule entitled "Disclosure Requirements and Prohibitions Concerning Franchising and Business Opportunity Ventures" ("the Franchise Rule" or "the Rule"), 16 C.F.R. Part 436.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

2. This Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C.  1331, 1337(a), 1345, and 1355, and 15 U.S.C.  45(m)(1)(A), 53(b), 56(a), and 57b. This action arises under 15 U.S.C.  45(a)(1).

3. Venue in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida is proper under 28 U.S.C.  1391(b) and (c), 1395(a), and 15 U.S.C.  53(b).

DEFENDANTS

4. Defendant Toys Unlimited International, Inc. ("Toys Unlimited"), a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business at 901 Northpoint Parkway, Building 302, West Palm Beach, Florida 33407, promotes, offers, and sells to investors carousel display rack business ventures for the sale of Disney and other licensed products to the public. Toys Unlimited transacts business in the Southern District of Florida.

5. Defendant Robert G. Garrow is the President of Toys Unlimited. In connection with the matters alleged herein, he transacts business in the Southern District of Florida. At all times material to this Complaint, acting alone or in concert with others, he has formulated, directed, controlled, or participated in the acts and practices of the corporate defendant, including the acts and practices set forth in this Complaint.

6. Andrew B. Moss is the National Marketing Director of Toys Unlimited. In connection with the matters alleged herein, he transacts business in the Southern District of Florida. At all times material to this Complaint, acting alone or in concert with others, he has formulated, directed, controlled, or participated in the acts and practices of the corporate defendant, including the acts and practices set forth in this Complaint.

7. Bryan Mylett is Regional Manager of Toys Unlimited. In connection with the matters alleged herein, he transacts business in the Southern District of Florida. At all times material to this Complaint, acting alone or in concert with others, he has formulated, directed, controlled, or participated in the acts and practices of the corporate defendant, including the acts and practices set forth in this Complaint.

COMMERCE

8. At all times relevant to this Complaint, the defendants have maintained a substantial course of trade in the offering for sale and sale of carousel display rack business ventures in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in Section 4 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  44.

DEFENDANTS' BUSINESS ACTIVITIES

9. Since at least February, 1997, the defendants have offered and sold carousel display rack business ventures to prospective purchasers. In order to induce consumers to make a minimum investment of between $14,900 and $75,000, the defendants have exploited the Disney name and other popular trademarks, representing that carousel racks displaying these products are successful and profitable because of the popularity of these licensed products. The defendants also have made representations about the earnings potential of the business venture without providing prospective purchasers with the information required by the Commission's Franchise Rule that they need to evaluate these claims and the business venture itself.

THE FRANCHISE RULE

10. The business ventures sold by the defendants are franchises, as "franchise" is defined in Section 436.2(a) of the Franchise Rule, 16 C.F.R.  436.2(a).

11. The Franchise Rule requires a franchisor to provide prospective franchisees with a complete and accurate basic disclosure statement containing twenty categories of information, including information about the history of the franchisor and its officers, the terms and conditions under which the franchise operates, and information about other franchisees. 16 C.F.R.  436.1(a)(1)-(20). Disclosure of this information enables a prospective franchisee to assess the potential risks involved in the purchase of the franchise.

12. The Franchise Rule additionally requires: (1) that the franchisor have a reasonable basis for any oral, written, or visual earnings or profit representations made by a franchisor to a prospective franchisee, 16 C.F.R.  436.1(b)(2), (c)(2), and (e)(1); (2) that the franchisor provide to prospective franchisees a document containing information substantiating the earnings claim, 16 C.F.R.  436.1(b)-(e); and (3) that the franchisor, in immediate conjunction with any generally disseminated earnings claim, disclose the material basis (or the lack of such basis) for the earnings claim and include a warning that the earnings claim is only an estimate, 16 C.F.R.  436.1(e)(3)-(4).

13. Pursuant to Section 18(d)(3) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  57a(d)(3), and 16 C.F.R.  436.1, violations of the Franchise Rule constitute unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a).

VIOLATIONS OF THE FRANCHISE RULE

Count One

14. Paragraphs 1 through 13 are incorporated herein by reference.

15. In numerous instances in connection with the offering of franchises, as "franchise" is defined in the Rule, 16 C.F.R.  436.2(a), defendants have failed to provide prospective franchisees with accurate and complete disclosure documents within the time period required by the Franchise Rule, thereby violating Section 436.1(a) of the Rule, 16 C.F.R.  436.1(a), and Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45.

Count Two

16. Paragraphs 1 through 13 are incorporated herein by reference.

17. In numerous instances in connection with the offering of franchises, as "franchise" is defined in the Rule, 16 C.F.R.  436.2(a), defendants have made earnings claims within the meaning of the Rule, 16 C.F.R.  436.1(b)-(e), but have failed to provide prospective franchisees the earnings claim document required by the Rule or have failed to disclose the information required by the Rule in immediate conjunction with such claims, thereby violating Sections 436.1(b)-(e) of the Rule, 16 C.F.R.  436.1(b)-(e), and Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45.

CONSUMER INJURY

18. On information and belief, consumers in the United States have suffered and will suffer substantial monetary loss as a result of defendants' unlawful acts or practices. Absent injunctive relief by this Court, defendants are likely to continue to injure consumers and harm the public interest.

THIS COURT'S POWER TO GRANT RELIEF

19. Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  53(b), empowers this Court to grant injunctive and other ancillary relief, including consumer redress, disgorgement, and restitution, to prevent and remedy any violations of any provision of law enforced by the Federal Trade Commission.

20. Section 5(m)(1)(A) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(m)(1)(A), authorizes this Court to award civil penalties of not more than $11,000 for each violation of the Franchise Rule. The defendants' violations of the Rule were committed with the knowledge required by Section 5(m)(1)(A) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(m)(1)(A).

21. Section 19 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  57b, authorizes this Court to grant such relief as the Court finds necessary to redress injury to consumers or other persons resulting from defendants' violations of the Franchise Rule, including the rescission and reformation of contracts, and the refund of money.

22. This Court, in the exercise of its equitable jurisdiction, may award ancillary relief to remedy injury caused by the defendants' violations of the FTC Act and the Franchise Rule.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, plaintiff requests that this Court, as authorized by Sections 5(a)(1), 5(m)(1)(A), 13(b), and 19 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a)(1), 45(m)(1)(A), 53(b), and 57b, and pursuant to its own equitable powers:

1. Enter judgment against the defendants and in favor of the plaintiff for each violation alleged in this Complaint;

2. Permanently enjoin the defendants from violating the Franchise Rule and the FTC Act;

3. Award plaintiff monetary civil penalties from each defendant for every violation of the Franchise Rule;

4. Award such relief as the Court finds necessary to redress injury to consumers resulting from the defendants' violations of the Franchise Rule and the FTC Act, including but not limited to, rescission of contracts, the refund of monies paid, and the disgorgement of ill-gotten monies; and

5. Award plaintiff the costs of bringing this action, as well as such other and additional relief as the Court may determine to be just and proper.

Dated this day of , 1998.

Respectfully submitted,

OF COUNSEL:

EILEEN HARRINGTON
Associate Director for
Marketing Practices
Federal Trade Commission

JOANNA P. CRANE
PATRICIA S. HOWARD
Attorneys
Federal Trade Commission
Washington, DC 20580

FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:

FRANK W. HUNGER
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Division

THOMAS E. SCOTT
United States Attorney

___________________________
JEFFREY R. LEVENSON
Assistant United States Attorney
500 E. Broward Blvd., 7th Floor
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Florida Bar # 383570
ph: (954) 356-7314
fax: (954) 356-7180

___________________________
DOUGLAS ROSS
Trial Attorney
Office of Consumer Litigation
Civil Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 386
Washington, D.C. 20044
ph: (202) 514-1874
fax: (202) 514-8742