Agency Cautions Consumers: Be Wary of Job Offers that Charge Fees
An operation that allegedly deceived consumers with bogus promises of nonexistent sales jobs will be banned from marketing any employment products or services under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
The proposed settlement order against National Sales Group and other defendants resolves FTC charges filed as part of a crackdown on scammers who falsely promise employment opportunities to financially distressed consumers. According to the FTC's complaint, the defendants advertised on CareerBuilder.com and other online job boards, and their telemarketers falsely told consumers they recruited for Fortune 1000 employers and had a unique ability to get them interviewed and hired.
The FTC complaint alleged that the defendants charged fees, purportedly for background checks and other services, and often overcharged, taking $97 from consumers who had agreed to pay $29 or $38. The defendants also allegedly charged some consumers recurring fees of $13.71 or more per month without their consent. At the FTC's request, in February 2011, the court halted the allegedly illegal practices and froze the defendants' assets pending litigation.
Under the proposed settlement order, Anthony J. Newton, National Sales Group, and I Life Marketing LLC, also doing business as Executive Sales Network and Certified Sales Jobs, are banned from selling employment products or services. They and co-defendant Jeremy S. Cooley are permanently prohibited from misrepresenting material facts about any product or service, and from violating the FTC's Telemarketing Sales Rule, including misrepresenting the benefits of a good or service or misrepresenting that any person is affiliated with or endorsed by another person or government entity. The defendants also are barred from violating the Rule by billing consumers without their consent and failing, during calls, to clearly and promptly disclose the seller's identity, the call's purpose, and the nature of the goods or services.
The order also bars the defendants from selling or using customers' personal information, failing to properly dispose of customer information, and attempting to collect payments from past customers. In addition, the order imposes a $13 million judgment that will be suspended once Newton has paid $279,000, terminated a lease on a 2009 Mercedes-Benz, and surrendered his interest in a residence in Huntington Beach, California. The full judgment will be imposed immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
The Commission vote approving the proposed consent order was 4-0. It is subject to court approval. The FTC filed the proposed consent order in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.
For more information, read Job Hunting-Job Scams.
NOTE: This consent order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant that the law has been violated. Consent orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.(National Sales Group)
(FTC File No. X110015)
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