FTC Settlement Also Requires the Defendant to Post a Bond Before Selling Other Products
Albert Mouyal, the remaining defendant cited by a Federal Trade Commission action with operating a bogus telemarketing boiler room in Canada, is permanently banned from telemarketing directories and non-durable office supplies into the United States. According to the FTC, three Canadian telemarketing companies and their principals engaged in fraudulent business practices in the sale of business directories and non-durable office supplies. They targeted businesses primarily in the United States. The settlement also requires Mouyal to post a $500,000 bond before telemarketing other products, or selling business directories or non-durable office supplies by means other than telemarketing.
In November 2002, the FTC filed a complaint in federal district court in Ohio against Hanson Publications, Inc. (Hanson); 9069-5057 Quebec, Inc. (Hanson-Quebec); Associated Merchant Paper Supplies, Inc. (AMPS); Albert Mouyal; Adrian P. Towing; and Charles Hamouth. The FTC coordinated this action with Canada’s Competition Bureau, which also brought a criminal action against the defendants. The FTC alleged that the defendants used telemarketing operations based in Canada to convince businesses across the United States to accept delivery of, and make payment for, business directories and paper and ink supplies for credit card machines.
The settlement announced today, which has been approved by the court, bans Mouyal from telemarketing directories or non-durable office supplies. The stipulated final order also requires Mouyal to post a $500,000 bond if he wishes to telemarket other products or sell directories or nondurable office supplies through means other than telemarketing. In addition, the settlement prohibits Mouyal from misrepresenting that consumers ordered goods that were shipped and/or billed to them, and that the entity on whose behalf the misrepresentation was made is connected with or is the customer’s regular supplier. The settlement further prohibits Mouyal from violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule.
The settlement contains an avalanche clause that requires Mouyal to pay $70 million if it is found that he misrepresented his financial condition. Finally, the settlement contains various recordkeeping requirements to assist the FTC in monitoring Mouyal’s compliance.
The FTC’s East Central Region - Cleveland handled this matter, with assistance from the International Division of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. The FTC received significant assistance from the Toronto Strategic Partnership, a cross-border fraud law enforcement partnership which, in addition to the FTC, includes Canada’s Competition Bureau; the Anti-Rackets Section of the Ontario Provincial Police; the Toronto Police Service Fraud Squad; the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services; the York Regional Police Service; the Ontario Postal Inspection Service; and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
The Commission vote authorizing staff to file the proposed stipulated final order and permanent injunction was 5-0. The stipulated final order and permanent injunction was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, and Judge Donald C. Nugent approved the settlement on May 24, 2004.
NOTE: This stipulated final order and permanent injunction is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. Stipulated final order and permanent injunctions have the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the stipulated final order and permanent injunction 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 in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), 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. 022-3219)
(Civil Action No. 1:02 CV 2205)
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