UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
In the Matter of
DOCKET NO. C-3949
DECISION AND ORDER
The Federal Trade Commission ("Commission"), having initiated an investigation of certain acts and practices of the respondents named in the caption hereof, and the respondents having been furnished thereafter with a copy of a draft of complaint which the Bureau of Consumer Protection proposed to present to the Commission for its consideration and which, if issued by the Commission, would charge respondents with violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act; and
Respondents and counsel for the Commission having thereafter executed an agreement containing a consent order, an admission by respondents of all the jurisdictional facts set forth in the aforesaid draft of complaint, a statement that the signing of said agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by respondents that the law has been violated as alleged in such complaint, or that the facts as alleged in such complaint, other than jurisdictional facts, are true and waivers and other provisions as required by the Commission's Rules; and
The Commission having thereafter considered the matter and having determined that it had reason to believe that respondents have violated the said Act, and that complaint should issue stating its charges in that respect, and having thereupon accepted the executed consent agreement and placed such agreement on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days, now in further conformity with the procedure prescribed in § 2.34 of its Rules, the Commission hereby issues its complaint, makes the following jurisdictional findings and enters the following order:
1. Respondent CompuTrade LLC is a Nevada corporation with its principal office or place of business at 24591 Del Prado, Dana Point, CA 92629.
2. Respondent Bernard Lewis is an officer of the corporate respondent. Individually or in concert with others, he formulates, directs, or controls the policies, acts, or practices of the corporation. His principal office or place of business is the same as that of CompuTrade LLC.
3. The Federal Trade Commission has jurisdiction of the subject matter of this proceeding and of the respondents, and the proceeding is in the public interest.
For purposes of this order, the following definitions shall apply:
1. "Clearly and conspicuously" shall mean as follows:
The disclosure shall be in understandable language and syntax. Nothing contrary to, inconsistent with, or in mitigation of the disclosure shall be used in any advertisement or on any label.
2. In the case of advertisements disseminated by means of an interactive electronic medium such as the Internet or other online services, "in close proximity" shall mean on the same Web page and proximate to the triggering representation, and not on other portions of the Web site, accessed or displayed through hyperlinks or other means.
3. "Commerce" shall mean as defined in Section 4 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 44.
4. "Trading program" shall mean any program, service, course, instruction, system, training, manual, computer software, or other materials involving the purchase or sale of stocks, currencies, commodity futures, options, or other financial instruments or investments.
5. Unless otherwise specified, "respondents" shall mean CompuTrade LLC, a corporation, its successors and assigns and its officers; Bernard Lewis, individually and as an officer of the corporation; and each of the above's agents, representatives, and employees.
IT IS ORDERED that respondents, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, trade name, or other device, in connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of any trading program, in or affecting commerce, shall not represent, in any manner, expressly or by implication:
unless respondents possess and rely upon a reasonable basis substantiating the representation at the time it is made.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, trade name, or other device, in connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of any trading program, in or affecting commerce, shall not misrepresent, in any manner, expressly or by implication,
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, trade name, or other device, in connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of any trading program, in or affecting commerce, shall not make any representation, in any manner, expressly or by implication, about the financial benefits of such program, unless they disclose, clearly and conspicuously, and in close proximity to the representation,
Provided, the disclosure required by this Part is in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other disclosure that respondents may be required to make, including but not limited to any disclosure required by state or federal law or by a self-regulatory organization. The requirements of this Part are not intended to, and shall not be interpreted to, exempt respondents from making any other disclosure.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondents, directly or through any corporation, subsidiary, division, trade name, or other device, in connection with the advertising, promotion, offering for sale, sale, or distribution of any trading program, in or affecting commerce, shall not represent, in any manner, expressly or by implication, that the experience represented by any user, testimonial or endorsement of the trading program represents the typical or ordinary experience of members of the public who use the trading program unless:
For purposes of this Part, "endorsement" shall mean as defined in 16 C.F.R. § 255.0(b).
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent CompuTrade LLC, and its successors and assigns, and respondent Bernard Lewis shall, for five (5) years after the last date of dissemination of any representation covered by this order, maintain and upon request make available to the Federal Trade Commission for inspection and copying:
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent CompuTrade LLC, and its successors and assigns, and respondent Bernard Lewis shall deliver a copy of this order to all current and future principals, officers, directors, and managers, and to all current and future employees, agents, and representatives having responsibilities with respect to the subject matter of this order, and shall secure from each such person a signed and dated statement acknowledging receipt of the order. Respondents shall deliver this order to current personnel within thirty (30) days after the date of service of this order, and to future personnel within thirty (30) days after the person assumes such position or responsibilities. Respondents shall maintain and upon request make available to the Commission for inspection and copying each such signed and dated statement for a period of five (5) years after creation.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent CompuTrade LLC, and its successors and assigns shall notify the Commission at least thirty (30) days prior to any change in the corporation that may affect compliance obligations arising under this order, including but not limited to a dissolution of a subsidiary, parent or affiliate that engages in any acts or practices subject to this order; the proposed filing of a bankruptcy petition; or a change in the corporate name or address. Provided, however, that, with respect to any proposed change in the corporation about which respondent learns less than thirty (30) days prior to the date such action is to take place, respondent shall notify the Commission as soon as is practicable after obtaining such knowledge.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent Bernard Lewis, for a period of ten (10) years after the date of issuance of this order, shall notify the Commission of the discontinuance of his current business or employment, or of his affiliation with any new business or employment. The notice shall include respondent's new business address and telephone number and a description of the nature of the business or employment and his duties and responsibilities.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that respondent CompuTrade LLC, and its successors and assigns shall, within sixty (60) days after the date of service of this order, and at such other times as the Federal Trade Commission may require, file with the Commission a report, in writing, setting forth in detail the manner and form in which they have complied with this order.
This order will terminate on June 5, 2020, or twenty (20) years from the most recent date that the United States or the Federal Trade Commission files a complaint (with or without an accompanying consent decree) in federal court alleging any violation of the order, whichever comes later; provided, however, that the filing of such a complaint will not effect the duration of:
Provided further, that if such complaint is dismissed or a federal court rules that the respondent did not violate any provision of the order, and the dismissal or ruling is either not appealed or upheld on appeal, then the order will terminate according to this Part as though the complaint had never been filed, except that the order will not terminate between the date such complaint is filed and the later of the deadline for appealing such dismissal or ruling and the date such dismissal or ruling is upheld on appeal.
All notices required to be sent to the Commission pursuant to this Order shall be sent by certified mail to the Associate Director, Division of Enforcement, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, 601 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. ATTN: In the Matter of CompuTrade LLC.
By the Commission.
Donald S. Clark