The Federal Trade Commission and the State of Florida have charged a Florida man and his company with tricking business owners into buying labor law posters by sending mailers that mimic invoices from a government agency or authority.
Thomas Henry Fred, Jr. and Starwood Consulting LLC, also doing business as Corporate Compliance Services, sent the mailers to newly established businesses. The notices directed them to pay $84 for posters and warned that, “Failure to comply with posting regulations can lead to fines of up to $17,000.” To convince businesses that the mailers were invoices that must be paid, the mailers cited multiple federal statutes and listed a “Business ID” number and a response deadline.
The FTC alleged that the defendants, who are not part of, or affiliated with, any government agency or authority, have received more than $800,000 from more than 9,000 businesses. They are charged with violating the FTC Act and Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practice Act.
The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 5-0. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court.
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