Originally published in the Clarion-Ledger April 10, 2015
PDF: 26 Years Later
In a classic case of which proves that “justice delayed” is not necessarily “justice denied”, more than 350 victims of an alleged business opportunity scam should be receiving checks for at least partial remuneration of their losses – about 26 years after the original complaint was filed.
Back in 1989, the Federal Trade Commission charged National Business Consultants, Inc. (NBC) and its owner Robert Namer with violating federal laws after Namer allegedly told potential business consultants they could make between $35,000 and $100,000 per year without having to market their own services, would refund deposits to successful consultants under the program, and would provide references.
This week, 358 people who reported losing money under the program will be getting a share of $939,207. The average consumer will get about $2,600, which amounts to about 40 percent what they paid to invest with Namer’s company. And under the terms of the Justice Department settlement, Namer must pay the FTC $2,000 a month for the next 10 years, with the money earmarked to pay more money to the alleged victims.
The settlement is the latest chapter on what has been a tortuous trip through the court system for the case. According to the FTC’s 1989 complaint, NBC and Namer were accused of falsely telling consumers that they could make money under the program.
“In 1991, the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled in the FTC’s favor, entering a $3 million judgment against the defendants,” according to the FTC. “Assisted by staff in the Commission’s Western Region Office, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana worked diligently to collect additional funds from the defendants through numerous legal proceedings. In December 2014, the Department of Justice reached a settlement and repayment terms with Namer, under which he agreed to pay $1.84 million, enabling the FTC to begin paying the refunds it is announcing today.”
Consumers should be receiving checks this week, from Rust Consulting, Inc., administrator for the program.
If you have been informed that you’re entitled to a refund from a case with the FTC, or if you just want to check to see if you might be eligible, the FTC lists all payouts on its website at https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/cases-proceedings/refunds. In some cases, the list includes items that are still open. As this case demonstrates, you could be in for a long wait; still, it’s a good idea to check to see if you might be eligible.