The complaint charged the defendants with violating the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), including calling consumers with numbers listed on the National Do Not Call Registry, as well as the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and the Florida Timeshare Resale Accountability Act. The court subsequently halted the defendants’ deceptive practices, froze their U.S. assets, and appointed a receiver over the two companies, and over Cohen, when doing business as Universal Timeshare Sales Associates and M.G.M. Universal Timeshares, pending litigation.
Under the court order, all of the defendants are banned from selling timeshare resale services. They also are prohibited from violating the TSR and two Florida laws, and from misrepresenting material facts about any product or service, including the total cost, any restrictions, the nature or terms of a refund or cancellation policy, and the income likely to be realized. The defaulting defendants (Cohen and his company, Vacation Communications Group LLC) are also banned from telemarketing.
The order imposes a judgment of more than $1.2 million against the settling defendants (Tammie Lynn Cline, Mark Russell Gardner, and their former telemarketing company, Gardner Cline LLC), which will be suspended based on their inability to pay. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition. The judgment for $10.2 million against the defaulting defendants is immediately due and payable upon entry of the court order.
The Commission vote approving the proposed stipulated final order was 5-0. The judgment was entered by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, on June 16, 2014.