TMO Story About Fake Halal Causes $500,000 Fine Against Fraudster

November 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The following is based on a press release from Orange County District Attorney.

Ayub Khan

Anaheim market to pay hefty fine for false halal advertising

halalThe consumer protection laws, designed to protect halal consumers, have been languishing in the back burner and long forgotten until last year when the Muslim Observer raised the issue in a series of articles. It appears that it is having an effect. In what can be termed as a landmark case  the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) has obtained a $527,000 civil settlement from Super King Market in Anaheim for falsely advertising and selling generic meat as Halal meat. The settlement was signed today, Nov. 21, 2011, by the Honorable David McEachen. Super King Market has multiple locations in Southern California, but this settlement is exclusive to the Anaheim location.

Halal is a term used to designate meat that has been butchered in a specific manner and slaughtered in the name of Allah, the Islamic name for God, making it permissible to eat in accordance with Islamic law.

The Anaheim Super King Market ordered and received various meats in their market, which was subsequently advertised as Halal. The defendant did not employ proper procedures to ensure the meat was indeed Halal, as advertised.

The OCDA began an investigation in 2010 after an inspection by the Orange County Health Department revealed that various meats were being delivered to the store without being clearly marked or labeled. Super King Market was also selling all meat from a display case indicating that the contents were Halal, but the contents were actually co-mingled in the walk-in freezer and refrigerator with various other generic meats that were delivered to the store.

The settlement did not require the defendant to admit fault or liability. Super King Market agreed to strict injunctive terms to prevent any future unfair or deceptive business practices. Super King Market is permanently enjoined from purchasing any meat without assuring its content is clearly designated on the invoice, packaging and box. Halal meats must be properly segregated from other meats. They are required to ensure every meat product in an area designated as Halal by a sign, placard or similar advertisement is actually of such nature.

This law is protects customers from deceptive and harmful business practices and also prevents the defendant from gaining an unfair advantage over legitimate businesses that spend time and resources ensuring that their products are properly purchased, labeled, and sold.

Deputy District Attorney Michelle Cipolletti from the Consumer Fraud Unit prosecuted this case.

13-48

FTC Announcement Regarding Debtor’s Rights

January 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The FTC has announced the largest penalty ever imposed on a debt collection agency for allegedly threatening and harassing consumers; disclosing their debts to third parties, and depositing postdated checks early, in violation of federal law.  The FTC has also released this consumer education video on debt collection so that consumers can be aware of their rights and debt collectors can be aware of their responsibilities under federal law.  The video is also available in Spanish.  The press release below provides details of the case and another link to the video. 

Please let me know if you have questions and if you plan on running a story about this. 

Regards,

Lisa

Lisa Lake

Bureau of Consumer Protection/Division of Consumer and Business Education

The Federal Trade Commission

601 New Jersey Avenue, NW — Drop:  NJ-2267

Washington, DC  20580

Direct:  202.326.2345; Fax:  202.326.3574

www.ftc.gov

January 7, 2009

Debt Collection Supervisors Settle FTC Charges

New FTC Video Explains Consumer Rights

Concluding a case that drew the largest civil penalty ever imposed on a debt collection business, the Federal Trade Commission settled with the two remaining individual defendants who allegedly misled, threatened, and harassed consumers; disclosed their debts to third parties; and deposited postdated checks early, in violation of federal law. The settlement order requires each of these senior managers to pay a civil penalty and bars them from future violations.

“The FTC wants to remind debt collectors of their responsibilities and obligations under the law. Abusive collection actions are illegal, and if debt collectors use abusive tactics they could face legal action,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “At the same time, we want consumers to understand their rights if their debts go into collection. Money matters, and the more people know about managing their debt and dealing with debt collectors, the better off they will be.”

According to the FTC’s complaint, filed by the Department of Justice on the FTC’s behalf, the defendants participated in, or controlled, the actions of debt collectors whose unlawful practices included false or deceptive threats of garnishment, arrest, and legal action; improper calls to consumers; frequent, harassing, threatening, and abusive calls; and unfair and unauthorized withdrawals from consumers’ bank accounts. The complaint also alleged that the defendants failed to adequately investigate consumer complaints or discipline collectors, and collectors who were terminated for violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) often were rehired within a few months.

In 2008, Academy Collection Service, Inc. and its owner, Keith Dickstein, paid $2.25 million to settle FTC charges that Academy collectors violated the FTC Act and the FDCPA while collecting debts, and that Dickstein failed to stop the violations. The settlement order announced today, negotiated by DOJ and the FTC, imposed civil penalties of $375,000 and $300,000, respectively, on Albert S. Bastian and Keith L. Hurt III, who oversaw Academy’s Las Vegas collection center. The judgments were suspended upon payment of $7,500 each, based on their ability to pay. The full judgments will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.

The order bars Bastian and Hurt from making false, deceptive, or misleading representations in debt collection efforts, such as that nonpayment will result in garnishment of wages, seizure of property, or lawsuits, or that they or their agents are attorneys. They also are prohibited from withdrawing money from consumers’ bank accounts without their express informed consent, and from depositing or threatening to deposit postdated checks before the date on the check. In addition, the pair are barred from improperly communicating with third parties about a debt; communicating with a consumer at any unusual time or place, including the
workplace; and harassing, oppressing, or abusing any person in connection with debt collection.

The Commission vote to authorize DOJ to file the consent decree was 4-0. The consent decree was entered in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.

The Commission has released a video, at www.ftc.gov/debtcollection and www.youtube.com/ftcvideos, explaining consumer rights regarding debt collection. Consumers with questions about their rights under the FDCPA should refer to Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre18.shtm.

NOTE: This consent decree is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by these defendants of a law violation. A consent decree is subject to court approval and has the force of law when signed by a 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 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.