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FTC Approves Final Order Prohibiting Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board from Fixing Prices for Appraisal Services in Louisiana
Operators of Investment Coaching Scheme Banned from Industry and Ordered to Pay Millions in Redress to Defrauded Consumers
The operators of a massive real estate investment coaching scheme face permanent bans and will pay approximately $12 million for consumer redress as part of a settlement in a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Utah Department of Commerce Division of Consumer Protection (UDCP).
The FTC and UDCP alleged that Zurixx, LLC, its owners Cristopher Cannon, James Carlson, and Jeffrey Spangler, and a number of associated companies operated a real estate investment coaching scheme that sold live seminars and telephone coaching using false earnings claims that convinced tens of thousands of consumers to pay them thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.
Ascension will be required to implement a comprehensive data security program as part of a settlement resolving FTC allegations that the firm failed to ensure one of its vendors was adequately securing personal data about tens of thousands of mortgage holders.
Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board; Analysis of Agreement Containing Consent Order To Aid Public Comment
The Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint against the Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board, alleging that the group is unreasonably restraining price competition for appraisal services in Louisiana, contrary to federal antitrust law. The complaint alleged that the appraisal board’s regulations exceeded the scope of the mandate outlined in the Dodd-Frank Act that required appraisal management companies to pay “a rate that is customary and reasonable for appraisal services performed in the market area of the property being appraised.” Specifically, the board required appraisal fees to equal or exceed the median fees identified in survey reports commissioned and published by the board. The board then investigated and sanctioned companies that paid fees below the specified levels.
Shortly before the administrative trial was set to begin, the FTC and the board reached a proposed settlement agreement.
On April 5, 2022, the Commission announced the final consent agreement in this matter.
Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board Agrees to Settle FTC Charges that It Fixed Prices for Appraisal Services in Louisiana
FTC Acts to Stop Nevada Companies From Charging Consumers Thousands To Open Credit Cards To Pay For Training Schemes
At FTC’s Request, Court Finalizes Orders and Monetary Judgments against Ringleaders of the Sanctuary Belize Real Estate Investment Scheme
In November 2018, the FTC announced that a federal district court in Maryland issued an order temporarily shutting down the largest overseas real estate investment scam the FTC has ever targeted. According to the FTC, the scam was established by Andris Pukke, a recidivist scammer currently living in California, and he perpetuated it even while serving a prison sentence for obstruction of justice. The alleged scheme took in more than $100 million, marketing lots in what supposedly would become a luxury development in Central America known by several names, including Sanctuary Belize, Sanctuary Bay, and The Reserve. In late August 2020, a district court ruled in the FTC’s favor, and BCP Director Andrew Smith issued a public statement on the memorandum opinion.
In January 2021, a federal district court entered final orders against the three primary individual defendants—Andris Pukke, Peter Baker, and Luke Chadwick, and related corporations—in the FTC’s’s case involving the allegedly deceptive sale of real estate properties in Belize to U.S. consumers. The orders finalize a September 2020 memorandum opinion requiring Pukke and Baker jointly to pay $120.2 million to the Commission with Chadwick also jointly responsible for $91.9 million of that amount.
The Federal Trade Commission filed an administrative complaint and authorized a suit in federal court to block internet listing services provider CoStar Group Inc.’s proposed $587.5 million acquisition of competitor RentPath Holdings, Inc. The complaint alleged that the acquisition would significantly increase concentration in the already highly concentrated markets for internet listing services advertising for large apartment complexes in 49 individual metropolitan areas across the United States. On Dec. 31, 2020, the FTC issued a statement on the parties’ announcement that they had abandoned the acquisition.
Statement of Daniel Francis, Deputy Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition, Regarding the Announcement That the Parties Have Abandoned CoStar Group Inc.’s Acquisition of RentPath Holdings, Inc.
Ten Individual and Corporate Defendants Settle FTC Charges that They Participated in, Controlled, or Benefitted from the Sanctuary Belize Real Estate Scam
Joint Statement of Commissioners Christine S. Wilson and Noah Joshua Phillips in the Matter of CoreLogic, Inc.
FTC Sues to Block CoStar Group, Inc.’s Proposed Acquisition of Chief Competitor RentPath Holdings, Inc.
Statement of FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Andrew Smith on the Memorandum Opinion Issued by U.S. District Court Judge Peter J. Messitte in the Matter of In re Sanctuary Belize Litigation
FTC Seeks to Add Real Estate Investment Celebrities Dean Graziosi and Scott Yancey as Defendants in Real Estate Training Case
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