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Federal Trade Commission v. Tucker

United States District Court, D. Kansas

February 23, 2017

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
JOEL JEROME TUCKER, individually and as an officer of SQ Capital, LLC, JT Holdings, Inc., and HPD, LLC, SQ CAPITAL, LLC, JT HOLDINGS, INC., and HPD LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JULIE A. ROBINSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Federal Trade Commission's Motion to Enforce Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 23) and the Court's Order to Show Cause (Doc. 25) why Defendants should not be held in contempt for failure to comply with the Preliminary Injunction. The Court held a hearing on Plaintiff's motion and the Court's Order to Show Cause on February 22, 2017. For the reasons explained below, the Court finds Defendants in civil contempt of court and imposes additional deadlines to compel Defendant Joel Tucker's compliance with the previously issued Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 21). The Court further finds that unless Defendant Tucker fully complies with the deadlines set forth below, he shall be confined until such time as he comes into compliance.

         I. Procedural Background

         On December 22, 2017, the Court entered a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO”) that prohibited Defendants from marketing, distributing, or selling counterfeit debt portfolios.[1] The TRO also required Defendants and third parties in possession of Defendants' accounts and data to preserve records and electronic data that could show the extent of Defendants' distribution of fake debt.[2] The TRO also directed Defendants to provide both (a) an accounting that listed details on each of Defendants' debt portfolio sales since June 1, 2014; and (b) an affidavit showing that Defendants had distributed the TRO to directors, officers, employees, managers, and entities with records regarding Defendants' debt portfolio sales.[3] The TRO ordered Defendants to provide the accounting and distribution affidavit before the hearing on whether the Court should enter a preliminary injunction, set for January 6, 2017.

         Defendants provided neither the accounting nor the distribution affidavit. On January 6, 2017, Defendant Tucker was the only Defendant to appear at the preliminary hearing, and he appeared pro se.[4] He stated he did not oppose entry of a preliminary injunction after the FTC agreed to relax its proposed deadline-until January 13-for Defendants to comply with production of the accounting and distribution affidavit.[5] Defendant Tucker also reported that he was seeking an attorney to represent Defendants SQ Capital, LLC, JT Holding, Inc., and HPD, LLC.[6] The Court granted the Preliminary Injunction against Defendant Tucker and the three business entities.

         The Preliminary Injunction requires that Defendants provide the accounting they failed to deliver in response to the TRO.[7] The Preliminary Injunction states that the accounting must cover all Debt Portfolios that Defendants, their subsidiaries, officers, agents or employees have distributed, sold or acquired since June 1, 2014, and report the following details:

A. The filenames, titles or other descriptions of each Debt Portfolio;
B. The location(s) where each Debt Portfolio is stored and any username or password required to access any computer or electronic files, including but not limited to information stored, hosted or otherwise maintained by an Electronic Data Host;
C. Any compensation related to the distribution, sale or acquisition of each Debt Portfolio;
D. The full names, addresses and telephone numbers of the purchasers of each Debt Portfolio;
E. The full names, addresses and telephone numbers of the Person(s) that provided all or part of the records in each Debt Portfolio;
F. The full names, addresses and telephone numbers of the Person(s) that issued or originated debts described in each Debt Portfolio;
G. The full names, addresses and telephone numbers of any Person(s) that ever held or transferred title to the debts described in each Debt Portfolio;
H. The full names, addresses and telephone numbers of any Electronic Data Host that was used to store, host, or otherwise ...

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