Anne and Stanford Miller, two of the three individuals involved in a medical billing work-at-home scam, are banned from promoting or selling work-at-home business opportunities as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. In June 2002, as part of "Project Busted Opportunity," the Commission filed a complaint against the defendants alleging that they violated the FTC Act in the marketing of work-at-home medical billing opportunities to consumers through classified ads and inbound telemarketing. The settlement requires Stanford Miller to pay $10,000, and prohibits both defendants from making any deceptive claims in connection with the sale of any goods or services.
"Project Busted Opportunity" was a law enforcement sweep launched by the FTC, the Department of Justice, and 17 state law enforcement agencies targeting fraudulent work-at-home business opportunities. In its complaint, the FTC alleged that the defendants promised that, for $485, they would provide consumers with everything necessary to perform medical billing from home, including training, a list of doctors in need of home-based medical billers, and the software to perform the work. Instead, according to the FTC, the defendants provided consumers with inadequate training and medical-billing software that many consumers were unable to use. In addition, the FTC alleged consumers found that the doctors on the defendants' list had no need for at-home medical billers. As a result, consumers were unable to earn any income using the defendants' medical-billing packages. The court granted the FTC's request for a temporary restraining order and froze the defendants' assets.
The FTC's amended complaint, filed on February 24, 2003, named Healthcare Claims Network, Inc., doing business as Med Data Solutions and Southern California Billing Services; Charles G. Lloyd; Anne Miller; and Stanford Miller, doing business as Medical Claims Network. The amended complaint alleged that the defendants: 1) misrepresented that they would furnish consumers with the names and addresses of doctors who were likely to use the consumers to process medical claims, and 2) misrepresented that consumers who purchased the defendants' materials would earn a specific level of earnings, such as $60,000 per year. The defendants were based in Fullerton, California. The case against Healthcare Claims Network, Inc. and Charles G. Lloyd is still pending.
The settlement announced today permanently bans the Millers from promoting or selling, or assisting others in promoting or selling, any work-at-home opportunity. In addition, the defendants are prohibited from misrepresenting any material fact regarding any item, product, good, or service sold. The order also prohibits the Millers from selling or otherwise benefitting from the use of their customer lists, and from attempting to collect payment from their customers for any work-at-home opportunity.
The settlement does not require Anne Miller to pay any money but contains a suspended $2.7 million judgment due immediately if it is found that she misrepresented her financial condition. The settlement requires Stanford Miller to pay $10,000, and contains a suspended judgment for $1.2 million due immediately if it is found that he misrepresented his financial condition. Finally, the settlement contains various recordkeeping provisions to assist the FTC in monitoring the defendants' compliance.
The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the amended complaint and proposed stipulated final judgment and order was 5-0. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division, on February 24, 2003. The stipulated final judgment was signed by the judge and entered by the Court on March 14, 2003. This case was handled by the FTC's Midwest Region - Chicago.
(FTC Matter No. X020072)
(Civil Action No. 2:02CV4569 MMM (AJWx))