FTC Exposes Used Car Scheme

By Staff Writer June 19, 2020
Inside the envelope there was a simulated 'stimulus check' of more than $3,000 Inside the envelope there was a simulated 'stimulus check' of more than $3,000

The Federal Trade Commission is taking legal action to halt a scheme where consumers were directed to a site where they could obtain federal COVID-19 stimulus benefits, which turned out to be a used car sale.

The mailers sent by Traffic Jam Events LLC and its owner, David J. Jeansonne II, were labeled “IMPORTANT COVID-19 STIMULUS DOCUMENTS” and directed consumers to “relief headquarters” to “claim these stimulus incentives,” the FTC alleged in its lawsuit against the company and Jeansonne.

Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Consumer Protection Division filed a legal complaint and injunction against a Tampa advertising agency for mailing used car promotions that resembled COVID-19 stimulus checks
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed legal action April 23rd

The mailers led consumers to believe they could obtain stimulus relief temporarily in person, making multiple references both to the coronavirus pandemic and to a supposed economic stimulus program similar to the program enacted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the FTC alleged.

According to the complaint, the defendants’ mailers referred to an address in Florida as “relief headquarters” and “designated local headquarters,” telling consumers that they must “must claim these stimulus incentives at your designated temporary 10-day site...” The mailers also include a likeness of the Great Seal of the United States, as well as a mock check, labeled “Stimulus Relief Program.” When consumers arrived, however, they only found a lot hosting a car sale.

The FTC’s complaint notes that the defendants have been the subject of prior law enforcement actions in Kansas and Indiana, and that they are currently facing action from the state of Florida related to these mailers. The FTC’s suit asks the court to stop the defendants’ actions and to require them to provide redress to consumers. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

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Last modified on Friday, 19 June 2020 18:42

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