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Federal Trade Commission v. Hardco Holding Group LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

December 5, 2017

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
HARDCO HOLDING GROUP LLC; S&H FINANCIAL GROUP, INC.; DARYL M. HALL; and DEQUAN M. SICARD, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING PERMANENT INJUNCTION AGAINST SETTLING DEFENDANTS

          ROY B. DALTON JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), commenced this action seeking a permanent injunction and other equitable relief pursuant to Section 13(b) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (“FTC Act”), 15 U.S.C. § 53(b) and Section 814 of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), 15 U.S.C. § 1692l. (Doc. 1.) On motion by the FTC (Docs. 4, 6), the Court entered an ex parte Temporary Restraining Order, freezing Defendants' assets, appointing a receiver (“Receiver”), and granting other equitable relief against Defendants (Doc. 15). Thereafter, the Court entered a Stipulated Preliminary Injunction against Defendant Hardco Holding Group LLC, S&H Financial Group Inc., and Daryl Hall (“Settling Defendants”) (Doc. 35), and a Preliminary Injunction against Defendant Dequan Sicard (Dkt. No. 36). Now, the FTC, the Receiver, and the Settling Defendants stipulate and agree to the entry of this Final Order for Permanent Injunction and Settlement of Claims (“Order”) to resolve all matters in dispute in this action between them.

         FINDINGS

         By stipulation of the parties, the Court finds as follows:

1. This Court has jurisdiction over this matter.
2. The Complaint charges that the Settling Defendants participated in deceptive, abusive, and unfair debt collection practices in violation of Section 5 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, and the FDCPA, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1692-1692p.
3. The Settling Defendants neither admit nor deny any of the allegations in the Complaint, except as specifically stated in this Order. Only for purposes of this action, the Settling Defendants admit the facts necessary to establish jurisdiction.
4. The Settling Defendants waive any claim that they may have under the Equal Access to Justice Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2412, concerning the prosecution of this action through the date of this Order, and agree to bear their own costs and attorney fees.
5. The Settling Defendants waive all rights to appeal or otherwise challenge or contest the validity of this Order.
6. Entry of this Order is in the public interest.

         DEFINITIONS

         For the purpose of this Order, the following definitions apply:

A. “Credit Repair Service” means selling, providing, or performing any service (or representing that such service can or will be sold, provided, or performed) through the use of any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mails, in return for the payment of money or other valuable consideration, for the express or implied purpose of (1) improving any consumer's credit record, credit history, or credit rating, (2) providing advice or assistance to any consumer with regard to any activity or service described in clause (1).
B. “Debt” means any obligation or alleged obligation to pay money arising out of a transaction, whether or not such obligation has been reduced to judgment.
C. “Debt Collection Activities” means any activities of a debt collector to collect or attempt to collect, directly or indirectly, a debt owed or due, or asserted to be owed or due.
D. “Debt Collector” means any person who uses any instrumentality of interstate commerce or the mail in any business the principal purpose of which is the collection of any debts, or who regularly collects or attempts to collect, directly or indirectly, debts owed or due or asserted to be owed or due another. The term also includes any creditor who, in the process of collecting its own debts, uses any name other than its own which would indicate that a third person is collecting or attempting to collect such debts. The term also includes any person to the extent such person collects or attempts to collect any debt that was in default at the time it was obtained by such person.
E. “Defendants” means Hardco Holding Group LLC, S&H Financial Group Inc., Daryl Hall, and Dequan Sicard, individually, collectively, or in any combination.
F. “Financial-Related Productor Service” means any product, service, plan, or program represented, expressly or by implication, to provide to any consumer, arrange for any consumer to receive, or assist any consumer in receiving:
1. An extension of consumer credit;
2. Credit repair services; or
3. Any secured or unsecured debt relief product or service.
G. “Person” means a natural person, organization, or other legal entity, including a corporation, partnership, proprietorship, association, cooperative, or any other group or combination acting as an entity. H. “Receivership Entities” means the Corporate Settling Defendants, as well as any other business related to the Settling Defendants' debt collection business and which the Receiver has reason to believe is owned or controlled in whole or in part by any of the Settling Defendants, including but not limited to any other debt collection business operated by the Individual Settling Defendant.
I. “Secured or Unsecured Debt Relief Productor Service” means, with respect to any mortgage, loan, debt, or obligation between a person and one or more secured or unsecured creditors or debt collectors, any product, service, plan, or program represented, expressly or by implication to:
1. Negotiate, settle, or in any way alter the terms of payment or other terms of the mortgage, loan, debt, or obligation, including but not limited to, a reduction in the amount of interest, principal balance, monthly payments, or fees owed by a person to a secured or unsecured creditor or debt collector;
2. Stop, prevent, or postpone any mortgage or deed of foreclosure sale for a person's dwelling, any other sale of collateral, any repossession of a person's dwelling or other collateral, or otherwise save a person's dwelling or other collateral from foreclosure or repossession;
3. Obtain any forbearance or modification in the timing of payments from any secured or unsecured creditor or debt collector;
4. Negotiate, obtain, or arrange any extension of the period of time within which the person by (a) cure his or her default on the mortgage, loan, debt, or obligation, (b) reinstate his or her mortgage, loan, debt, or obligation, (c) redeem a dwelling or other collateral, or (d) exercise any right to reinstate the mortgage, loan, debt, or obligation or redeem a dwelling or other collateral;
5. Obtain any waiver of an acceleration clause or balloon payment contained in any promissory note or contract secured by any dwelling or other collateral; or 6. Negotiate, obtain, or arrange, (a) a short sale of a dwelling or other collateral, (b) a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, or (c) any other disposition of a mortgage, loan, debt, or obligation other than a sale to a third party that is not the secured or unsecured loan holder.

         The foregoing shall include any manner of claimed assistance, including, but not limited to, auditing or examining a person's application for the mortgage, loan, debt, or obligation.

         J. “Settling Defendants” means the Individual Settling Defendant and the Corporate Settling Defendants, individually, collectively, or in any combination. “Corporate Settling Defendants” means Hardco Holding Group LLC, S&H Financial Group Inc., and their successors and assigns. “Individual Settling Defendant” means Daryl M. Hall, and any other name by which he may be known.

         ORDER

         BAN ON DEBT COLLECTION ACTIVITIES

         I. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Settling Defendants, whether acting directly or through any other person, ...


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