FTC Ends Fake OSHA Scam that Targets Small Businesses in Florida

The agency claims that the defendants bilked consumers out of at least $1.3 million

FTC Ends Fake OSHA Scam that Targets Small Businesses in Florida
Image: Pixabay
June 21, 2016

A Florida man is in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for impersonating a government official.

The FTC has charged Sean K. Juhl and D&S Marketing Solutions LLC with swindling at least $1.3 million from newly-opened small businesses by pretending to be a regulatory agency official.

According to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, Juhl fraudulently informed business owners that their operation would be shut down or fined unless they purchased occupational safety and other government regulation posters for their premises.

The defendants operated the scam by calling business owners and posing as a representative from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Using names that sounds like government agencies, such as "Occupational Safety and Compliance Administration," "US Corporate Compliance Office," and "Occupational Compliance and Safety Administration," the perpetrators told business owners that they were not complying with federal law and that the government could shut down or fine the business. The owners were then informed that the only remedy was to immediately purchase regulatory posters, which cost from $179.99 to $189.99.

The government provides the regulatory posters to businesses free of charge. When victims discovered that they were dealing with a company and not the government, calls to the company seeking refunds were not answered or returned.

On June 8, 2016, the court issued a temporary injunction against the Juhl and his outfit. The FTC is seeking to put a permanent halt to the practice and obtain refunds for the targeted businesses.