Case Was Part of Project Busted Opportunity Sweep
Charles Lloyd and his company, Healthcare Claims Network, Inc., doing business as Med Data Solutions, are banned from promoting or selling medical billing work-at-home opportunities, as a result of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The complaint against the defendants was filed in June 2002 as part of the “Project Busted Opportunity” sweep, and alleged that the defendants violated the FTC Act in the marketing of medical billing work-at-home opportunities to consumers. The settlement requires that the company be liquidated and that Lloyd pay $10,000. In addition, the settlement prohibits the defendants from making any deceptive claims in connection with the sale of any goods or services.
The FTC’s complaint named Charles Lloyd, Healthcare Claims Network, Inc., d/b/a Med Data Solutions and Southern California Billing Services, Anne Miller, and Stanford Miller. The Commission approved a settlement with Anne and Stanford Miller in February 2003. The proposed settlement announced today resolves the case against the only remaining defendants.
“Project Busted Opportunity” was a law enforcement sweep launched by the FTC, the Department of Justice, and 17 state law enforcement agencies targeting fraudulent work-at-home business opportunities. The FTC’s complaint alleged that the defendants promised that, for $485, they would provide consumers with everything necessary to perform medical billing services from home, including training, a list of doctors in need of home-based medical billers, and the software to perform the work. Instead, the FTC alleged, the defendants provided consumers with inadequate training and medical billing software that many consumers were unable to use. In addition, consumers allegedly found that the doctors on the defendants’ list had no need for at-home billing services. As a result, the FTC alleged, consumers were unable to earn any income using the defendants’ medical billing packages.
In addition to the ban against the defendants, the settlement announced today prohibits Med Data from misrepresenting:
- the earnings potential of the business opportunity;
- that they will provide consumers with a list of doctors who are likely to use the consumers’ medical billing services; and
- any material fact regarding any item, product, good, or service sold or offered for sale.
In addition, the settlement prohibits the defendants from selling their customer lists and seeking to collect payment from their customers for any work-at-home opportunity. The settlement includes a suspended judgment of $2.7 million if it is found that the defendants misrepresented their financial conditions. Finally, the settlement contains various recordkeeping provisions to assist the FTC in monitoring the defendants’ compliance with the final order.
The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the proposed stipulated final judgment and order was 5-0. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division, and requires the court’s approval.
Copies of the stipulated final judgment and order are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1 877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
(FTC Matter No. X020072)
(Civil Action No. 2:02 CV 4569 MMM (AJWx))
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