Melanie Damian Appointed Receiver of Consumer Collection Advocates Corp.

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Damian & Valori LLP announces that Melanie Damian was recently appointed receiver for the business activities of Consumer Collection Advocates Corp. The appointment comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the Florida federal district court.

Melanie Damian was recently appointed receiver for the business activities of Consumer Collection Advocates Corp. (CCA) and its principal, Michael Robert Ettus. Ms. Damian, appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District Court of Florida (Case No. 14-CIV-62491-BLOOM), has full power as an equity receiver and is accountable directly to the federal district court that appointed her.

The appointment comes in response to a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Case No. 0:14-cv-62491-BB) in the Florida federal district court. Pam Bondi, Florida state attorney general, has filed a parallel lawsuit in state court. Both lawsuits allege that CCA and Ettus targeted consumers who had previously been scammed by telemarketers. The consumers had lost money due to fraudulent time-share schemes and fraudulent precious metal investing promises.

According to the federal complaint, CCA contracted with the consumers, guaranteeing them that CCA would obtain the return of the funds the consumers had previously lost. In exchange, consumers paid CCA a substantial upfront fee, in some cases up to $10,000. In addition, consumers also agreed that CCA could keep a percentage of the funds the company was able to recover.

The lawsuits were filed in response to an investigation that was prompted by 115 complaints made to various agencies on the grounds that the company took consumers upfront money, but did not provide the promised services it guaranteed it would provide. According to the FTC complaint, between 2011 and November 2014, CCA allegedly bilked consumers out of more than $2.4 million. The company allegedly collected more than $1.2 million just in 2014.

The federal complaint alleges that CCA and Ettus violated several state and federal laws by misrepresenting its own business status, making false and misleading statements and failing to perform promised services. In addition, the company refused to return payments upon request to consumers who paid for services they never received.

The federal district court appointed Ms. Damian as receiver and also issued an injunction forbidding CCA from continuing to conduct business. The court froze the company’s assets.

Ms. Damian was ordered, as receiver, to take custody and control of all documents and electronically stored records that were in the custody and control of CCA and Ettus at the time the order was issued. She is also ordered, among other things, to preserve the value of the assets in order to prevent irreparable loss to consumers.

Ms. Damian has established a website where consumers with claims against CCA and Ettus can monitor any action taken by the receiver and review any court orders which will be posted at the site. The website is operational for providing information only. Ms. Damian cannot provide consumers legal or financial advice. Consumers who have claims or issues with CCA must contact their own attorney or tax professional for advice.

About Melanie Damian: Ms. Damian represents public and private companies and individuals in a variety of complex business and securities litigation. Ms. Damian regularly serves as a Court appointed Receiver and Distribution Agent in Securities matters and state court matters, as well as, serving as counsel to Receivers serving in both state and federal courts). She represents and counsels companies on complicated business disputes, injunction matters and high stakes litigation. Ms. Damian also represents officers and directors in corporate and securities litigation matters as well and internal and government investigations.

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Ian Torres
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Damian & Valori
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