A federal court entered an order against three Los Angeles area telemarketing companies and two executives, the Department of Justice announced today. That order, entered by Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald in the Central District of California, permanently bans the companies and one executive from future telemarketing activity and restricts the telemarketing activities of another executive. The order also imposes a civil monetary penalty.
The Department filed a complaint on March 10, 2016, alleging that three companies, KFJ Marketing LLC, Sunlight Solar Leads LLC, and Go Green Education, initiated at least 1.3 million telemarketing calls that violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule. Those calls, which were intended to entice consumers to schedule appointments with solar panel providers, began with a prerecorded message warning consumers of a “pending 14% rate increase” in their energy bills. Francisco and Julio Salvat owned and operated all three companies.
“Unwanted telemarketing calls invade the privacy of American consumers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with the Federal Trade Commission to ensure telemarketers adhere to laws designed to protect against abusive and deceptive telemarketing practices.”
The filing of the suit was prompted by numerous complaints made by consumers to the Federal Trade Commission about the defendants’ telemarketing calls. The complaint alleged defendants called telephone numbers listed on the National Do-Not-Call Registry, initiated unlawful robocalls, displayed false information on consumers’ Caller IDs, and ignored consumer requests not to receive additional calls. The government’s complaint sought a permanent injunction to prevent future unlawful calls and a civil monetary penalty.
On Oct. 31, 2017, the United States and the defendants filed a proposed stipulated order for permanent injunction and civil penalty judgment. That stipulated order, entered by the district court, permanently bans the three corporate defendants and Francisco Salvat from engaging in telemarketing activity. Additionally, the order prohibits Julio Salvat from violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule and restricts his ability to place robocalls. The stipulated order also requires defendants to pay a $1.4 million dollar civil penalty, all of which but $155,000 will be suspended based on defendants’ inability to pay the entire penalty.
This matter was handled by Trial Attorneys Jacqueline Blaesi-Freed and Lisa Hsiao of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch, with assistance from Syliva Kundig of the Federal Trade Commission’s Western Region.
Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts may be found at http://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch.
Topic(s): Consumer Protection
Component(s): Civil Division
Press Release Number: 17-1259 Updated November 8, 2017
Central District of California DOJ / 17-1259 / November 8, 2017