DEBRA A. VALENTINE
General Counsel

LINDA M. STOCK (Bar No. 143774)
Federal Trade Commission
10877 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 700
Los Angeles, California 90024
Telephone: (310) 824-4343 or 824-4316
Fax: (310) 824-4380
Attorneys for Plaintiff
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
WESTERN DIVISION

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION,
Plaintiff,

v.

BARRY COOPER, an individual, doing business as Barry Cooper Properties, Defendant.



Civil No.

COMPLAINT FOR PERMANENT INJUNCTION
AND OTHER EQUITABLE RELIEF

Plaintiff, the Federal Trade Commission ("Commission"), by its undersigned attorneys, alleges as follows:

Jurisdiction and Venue

1. This is an action under Sections 5(a) and 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act ("FTC Act"), 15 U.S.C.  45(a) and 53(b), and Section 108(c) of the Truth in Lending Act ("TILA"), 15 U.S.C.  1607(c), to obtain preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, rescission, restitution, reformation, disgorgement, and other equitable relief against the defendant for engaging in acts or practices in violation of TILA, 15 U.S.C. 1601-1666j, as amended, including, but not limited to, the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994 ("HOEPA"), as amended, and TILA's implementing Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R. 226, as amended, and for unfair acts or practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a), as amended.

2. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 45(a), 53(b), and 1607(c), and 28 U.S.C. 1331, 1337(a), and 1345.

3. Venue in the United States District Court for the Central District of California is proper under 28 U.S.C.  1391(b) and (c) and 15 U.S.C. 53(b).

Definitions

As used in this Complaint:

4. The terms "annual percentage rate," "consumer," "consumer credit," "consummation," "credit," "creditor," "dwelling," "mortgage," "open-end credit," "points and fees," "residential mortgage transaction," and "reverse mortgage transaction" are defined as set forth in Sections 103 and 128 of TILA, 15 U.S.C.  1602 and 1638, and Sections 226.2, 226.18, 226.22, 226.32, and 226.33 of Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R.  226.2, 226.18, 226.22, 226.32, and 226.33.

5. The term "HOEPA" means the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994 which, inter alia, amended TILA by adding Section 129 of TILA, 15 U.S.C.  1639, and is implemented by, inter alia, Sections 226.31 and 226.32 of Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R.  226.31 and 226.32. HOEPA, which took effect on October 1, 1995, provides special protections for consumers who obtain high-rate or high-fee loans secured by their principal dwellings by requiring creditors to provide certain material information at least three days before the loan is consummated, prohibiting the use of certain loan terms, and barring specified practices.

6. The term "HOEPA mortgage loan" means a consumer credit transaction consummated on or after October 1, 1995, that is secured by the consumer's principal dwelling, other than a residential mortgage transaction, a reverse mortgage transaction or an open-end credit plan, in which: (1) the annual percentage rate at consummation of the transaction will exceed by more than 10 percentage points the yield on Treasury securities having comparable periods of maturity to the loan maturity as of the 15th day of the month immediately preceding the month in which the application for the extension of credit is received by the creditor; or (2) the total points and fees payable by the consumer at or before loan closing will exceed the greater of 8% of the total loan amount or $400 (adjusted annually by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ("FRB") on January 1 by the annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index that was reported on June 1 of the preceding year), which is covered by HOEPA, pursuant to Section 129 of TILA, 15 U.S.C.  1639, and Section 226.32 of Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R.  226.32. As used herein, the "total loan amount" is calculated as described in Section 226.32(a)(1)(ii)-1 of the FRB Official Staff Commentary on Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R.   226.32(a)(1)(ii)-1, Supp. 1.

7. The term "Regulation Z" means the regulation the FRB promulgated to implement TILA and HOEPA, 12 C.F.R. 226, as amended. The term also includes the FRB Official Staff Commentary on Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R. 226, Supp.1, as amended.

8. The term "TILA" means the Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C.  1601-1666j, as amended. TILA, which took effect on July 1, 1969, is intended to promote the informed use of consumer credit by requiring creditors to disclose credit terms and costs, requiring additional disclosures for loans secured by consumers' homes, and permitting consumers to rescind certain transactions that involve their principal dwellings.

Parties

9. Plaintiff, the Commission, is an independent agency of the United States Government created and given statutory authority and responsibility by the FTC Act, as amended, 15 U.S.C. 41-58. The Commission is charged, inter alia, with enforcing 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, and TILA. The Commission is authorized by Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  53(b), and Section 108(c) of TILA, 15 U.S.C.  1607(c), to initiate federal district court proceedings to enjoin violations of the FTC Act, TILA, HOEPA, and Regulation Z and to secure such equitable relief as may be appropriate in each case including, but not limited to, redress and disgorgement.

10. Defendant Barry Cooper is sole proprietor and owner of Barry Cooper Properties, also known as Barry Cooper Properties Loans and Investments, located at 17034 Ventura Boulevard, Encino, California 91316. Individually or in concert with others, at certain times material to this action, he has formulated, directed, controlled, supervised, and/or participated in the acts and practices of Barry Cooper Properties, including the acts or practices set forth in this Complaint. He resides and transacts business in this district.

11. Defendant Barry Cooper, doing business as Barry Cooper Properties, is a "creditor," as that term is defined in Section 103(f) of TILA, 15 U.S.C.  1602(f), and Section 226.2(a)(17) of Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R.  226.2(a)(17), and therefore is required to comply with applicable provisions of TILA, HOEPA, and Regulation Z.

Defendant's Business

12. Since at least October 1, 1995, the defendant has maintained a substantial course of trade in offering and extending credit to consumers and others including, but not limited to, HOEPA mortgage loans.

13. Defendant Barry Cooper, doing business as Barry Cooper Properties, is engaged in business as a subprime lender. Subprime lending refers to the extension of credit to higher risk borrowers. This practice is also commonly referred to as "B/C" or "nonconforming" credit.

14. The defendant's HOEPA mortgage loans typically include, inter alia, interest rates of 14% and up-front fees that include origination and brokerage fees ranging from 10% to 20%.

15. In the course of offering and extending credit to consumers, the defendant has included loan terms prohibited by HOEPA and Regulation Z and has engaged in a pattern and practice of asset-based lending in violation of HOEPA and Regulation Z.

16. At all times relevant to this Complaint, the defendant has maintained a substantial course of trade in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in Section 4 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  44.

Violations of HOEPA, TILA and FTC Act

COUNT ONE

Prohibited Loan Terms

17. In the course and conduct of offering and making HOEPA mortgage loans, defendant Barry Cooper in numerous instances has violated, and continues to violate, the requirements of HOEPA and Regulation Z in the following and other respects by including a prohibited "prepayment penalty" provision, in violation of Section 129(c) of TILA, 15 U.S.C.  1639(c), and Section 226.32(d)(6) of Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R.  226.32(d)(6).

18. By including prohibited loan terms in HOEPA mortgage loan transactions, as described in Paragraph 17 above, the defendant has engaged, and continues to engage, in unfair acts or practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a).

COUNT TWO

Asset-Based Lending

19. In the course and conduct of offering and making HOEPA mortgage loans, defendant Barry Cooper has violated, and continues to violate, the requirements of HOEPA and Regulation Z by engaging in a pattern or practice of extending such credit to a consumer based on the consumer's collateral rather than considering the consumer's current and expected income, current obligations, and employment status to determine whether the consumer is able to make the scheduled payments to repay the obligation, in violation of Section 129(h) of TILA, 15 U.S.C.  1639(h), and Section 226.32(e)(1) of Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R.  226.32(e)(1).

20. By engaging in a pattern or practice of making HOEPA mortgage loans without regard to the payment ability of consumers, as described in Paragraph 19 above, the defendant has engaged, and continues to engage, in unfair acts or practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a).

Injury

21. Consumers have suffered, and will continue to suffer, substantial injury as a result of the defendant's violations of HOEPA, TILA, and Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, as set forth above.

This Court's Power to Grant Relief

22. This Court has authority pursuant to Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 53(b), Section 108(c) of TILA, 15 U.S.C.  1607(c), and its own inherent equitable powers, to grant injunctive relief to prevent and remedy violations of any provision of law enforced by the Commission. The defendant's violations of HOEPA, TILA, and Section 5(a) of the FTC Act have injured consumers and, absent injunctive and other relief by this Court, are likely to continue to injure consumers and harm the public interest.

Request for Relief

WHEREFORE, plaintiff respectfully requests that this Court, as authorized by Sections 5(a) and 13(b) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a) and 53(b), Section 108(c) of TILA, 15 U.S.C.  1607(c), and pursuant to its own inherent equitable powers:

(1) Enter judgment against the defendant and in favor of plaintiff for each violation charged in the Complaint;

(2) Permanently enjoin and restrain the defendant from violating any provision of HOEPA, TILA, and Regulation Z, and, in connection with offering or extending credit, Section 5(a) of the FTC Act;

(3) Find the defendant liable for redress to all consumers who were injured as a result of the defendant's violations of HOEPA, TILA, Regulation Z, and/or Section 5(a) of the FTC Act;

(4) Award such relief as the Court deems necessary to prevent unjust enrichment and to redress consumer injury resulting from the defendant's violations of HOEPA, TILA, Regulation Z, and/or Section 5(a) of the FTC Act including, but not limited to, rescission or reformation of contracts, refund of monies paid, and/or disgorgement of ill-gotten gains; and

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

Respectfully submitted,

DEBRA A. VALENTINE
General Counsel

Dated: ___________________

_________________________
Linda M. Stock
Attorneys for Plaintiff

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION