UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
DALLAS DIVISION

THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, Plaintiff,

v.

KEVIN DRAKE, an individual, doing business as NEW CREDIT '98, Defendant.

CIVIL ACTION NO.

COMPLAINT FOR INJUNCTIVE AND OTHER RELIEF

Plaintiff, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC" or "Commission") for its Complaint alleges:

1. The Commission brings this action under Sections 13(b) and 19 of the Federal Trade Commission Act ("FTC Act"), 15 U.S.C. 53(b) and 57b, and Section 410(b) of the Credit Repair Organizations Act, 15 U.S.C. 1679h(b), to obtain preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, restitution, rescission, disgorgement and other equitable relief for Defendant's deceptive acts or practices in connection with the sale and offering for sale of credit repair products in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a), and Section 404(a)(2) of the Credit Repair Organizations Act, 15 U.S.C. 1679b(a)(2).

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

2. This Court has jurisdiction of this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1331, 1337(a), 1345, and 15 U.S.C. 53(b), 57b, and 1679h(b).

3. Venue in this District is proper under 28 U.S.C.  1391 and 15 U.S.C.  53(b).

THE PARTIES

4. Plaintiff, the Federal Trade Commission, is an independent agency of the United States Government created by statute. 15 U.S.C.  41 et seq. The Commission is charged, inter alia, with enforcement of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a), which prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce. The Commission also enforces the Credit Repair Organizations Act. 15 U.S.C.  1679h(a). The Commission is authorized to initiate federal district court proceedings, by its own attorneys, to enjoin violations of the FTC Act and the Credit Repair Organizations Act in order to secure such equitable relief, including consumer redress, as may be appropriate in each case. 15 U.S.C.  53(b), 57b, and 1679h(b).

5. Defendant Kevin Drake is an individual doing business as New Credit '98, with his office and principal place of business located at 2502 Marion Drive, Grand Prairie, Texas. Defendant transacts or has transacted business in this District. 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 New Credit '98, including the acts and practices set forth in this complaint.

COMMERCE

6. At all times relevant to this complaint, defendant has maintained a substantial course of trade in the offering for sale and selling of credit repair products, in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in Section 4 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  44.

DEFENDANT'S BUSINESS PRACTICES

7. Since at least 1998, defendant has advertised, promoted, offered for sale, and sold credit file segregation kits to consumers through the use of the Internet.

8. Defendant has claimed that he can improve consumers' credit histories, credit records, or credit ratings by assisting them in establishing new credit profiles with credit reporting agencies by using a Taxpayer Identification Number ("TIN") in place of their Social Security Number for banking and credit purposes. Defendant has further claimed that use of the TIN in this manner is legal.

9. Typical and illustrative of defendant's claims about his credit file segregation products include the following:

a. STARTING A NEW CREDIT FILE HAS NEVER BEEN EASIER!!

* * *

Our manual will show you how to obtain a 100% New Credit File and a 2nd chance at credit. . . . One can easily start a brand new credit file - parallel to one's existing file and insure that only this new file is accessed in the future. . . . In effect, you leave your credit past behind.

b. Best of all, it's entirely legal - the government even helps! . . . One's success in establishing new credit files with the three major credit reporting bureaus. . . , and insuring that future creditors access these fresh new files, not the prior existing ones, lies in simply applying the easy step-by-step instructions.

c. OBTAIN A T.I.N. NUMBER

Because your file I.D. number is your social security number, if you obtain a new tax payer I.D. number, you can use it to open a completely new credit file. This new file will not contain any of your present negatives.

d. THE GUIDE TO NEW CREDIT FILE

We have put this process together in a kit called "The Fresh Start Program." It shows you the step by step way to creating a new credit file.

e. When speaking with the IRS don't let them know that you are applying for a number for credit purposes. If they believe you are applying for a TIN# for credit purposes chances are they will deny your request.

f. How can I put credit on my new file?

Simple. The guide will list the places that will give you starter credit. These are department stores, oil and gas cards and Visa/Mastercard places.

g. Ordering is easy as 1-2-3. . . . Please fill in all the blanks below and press the submit button or print out this form and mail to:

NewCredit98
2502 Marian Dr.
Grand Prairie, TX 75050

Please rush me the "Fresh Start Program" at the discounted price of $69.95 (Reg. $79.95)

10. Consumers who respond to defendant's advertisements by paying $69.95, or $79.95, receive a packet of materials that advise consumers to obtain a TIN from the Internal Revenue Service. The materials instruct consumers how to create a new credit history and credit file under the new identifying number.

VIOLATIONS OF THE CREDIT REPAIR ORGANIZATIONS ACT

11. The Credit Repair Organizations Act, 15 U.S.C. 1679a-j (1997), was enacted on September 30, 1996, and has been in full force and effect since April 1, 1997.

12. Section 404(a)(2) of the Credit Repair Organizations Act prohibits all persons from making any statement, or counseling or advising any consumer to make any statement, the intended effect of which is to alter the consumer's identification to prevent the display of the consumer's credit record, history, or rating for the purpose of concealing adverse information that is accurate and non-obsolete to any consumer reporting agency as defined in 15 U.S.C.  1681(f) or to any person who has extended credit to the consumer or to whom the consumer has applied or is applying for an extension of credit. 15 U.S.C.  1679b(a)(2).

13. Pursuant to Section 410(b)(1) of the Credit Repair Organizations Act, 15 U.S.C.  1679h(b)(1), any violation of any requirement or prohibition of the Credit Repair Organizations Act constitutes an unfair and deceptive act or practice in commerce in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 45(a).

COUNT ONE

14. In numerous instances, defendant has counseled or advised consumers to make statements, the intended effect of which has been to alter the consumer's identification to prevent the display of the consumer's credit record, history, or rating for the purpose of concealing adverse information that is accurate and not obsolete to consumer reporting agencies, as that term is defined in 15 U.S.C.  1681(f), or to persons who have extended credit to those consumers or to whom those consumers have applied or are applying for extensions of credit.

15. Defendant has thereby violated Section 404(a)(2) of the Credit Repair Organizations Act, 15 U.S.C.  1679b(a)(2).

VIOLATIONS OF THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION ACT

COUNT TWO

16. In connection with the advertising, marketing, promotion, offering for sale, or sale of credit repair products, to induce consumers to purchase his products, defendant has, expressly or by implication, represented that through the use of his products, consumers can legally alter their identifications to conceal adverse credit information from consumers' credit records, credit histories, or credit ratings by obtaining TINs to use, instead of their Social Security Numbers, for credit purposes.

17. In truth and in fact, through the use of defendant's products, consumers cannot legally alter their identifications to conceal adverse credit information from their credit records, credit histories, or credit ratings by obtaining TINs to use, instead of their Social Security Numbers, for credit purposes.

18. Therefore, the representation set forth in paragraph 16 is false and misleading and constitutes a deceptive act or practice in or affecting commerce, in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 45(a).

CONSUMER INJURY

19. Consumers throughout the United States have suffered or are likely to suffer substantial monetary loss as a result of defendant's unlawful acts or practices. Absent injunctive relief by this Court, defendant is likely to continue to injure consumers and harm the public interest.

THIS COURT'S POWER TO GRANT RELIEF

20. Sections 13(b) and 19 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.   53(b) and 57b, and Section 410(b) of the Credit Repair Organizations Act, 15 U.S.C. 1679h(b), empower this Court to issue a permanent injunction against defendant's violations of the Credit Repair Organizations Act and the FTC Act and, in the exercise of its equitable jurisdiction, to order such ancillary relief as preliminary injunction, rescission, restitution, disgorgement of profits resulting from defendant's unlawful acts or practices, and other remedial measures.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, plaintiff requests that this Court, as authorized by Section 410(b) of the Credit Repair Organizations Act, 15 U.S.C.  1679h(b), Sections 13(b) and 19 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  53(b) and 57b, and pursuant to its own equitable powers:

(a) Award plaintiff such preliminary injunctive and ancillary relief as may be necessary to avert the likelihood of consumer injury during the pendency of this action and to preserve the possibility of effective final relief;

(b) Permanently enjoin defendant from violating the Credit Repair Organizations Act and the FTC Act, as alleged herein, in connection with the advertising, promoting, offering for sale, and sale of credit repair products or services;

(c) Award such relief as the Court finds necessary to redress injury to consumers resulting from defendant's violations of the Credit Repair Organizations Act 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

(d) 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:_____________, 1999 Respectfully Submitted,

DEBRA A. VALENTINE
General Counsel

THOMAS B. CARTER
Director, Dallas Regional Office

W. DAVID GRIGGS, . Texas Bar No. 08491100

JOHN R. HOAGLAND
District of Columbia Bar No. 183699

Federal Trade Commission
1999 Bryan Street, Suite 2150
Dallas, Texas 75201-6848
(214) 979-9378 (Griggs)
(214) 979-9395 (Hoagland)
(214) 953-3079 (Facsimile)

Attorneys for Plaintiff