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MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that the state has obtained a consent judgment against First American Funding Company, LLC, for violations of the state's “No Call” law, along with other telemarketing laws.
First American, which markets residential mortgage loans to homeowners, is owned by Michael S. Eisenga and is located in Columbus, Wisconsin.
The judgment requires First American to pay a minimum of $144,000 in penalties and costs to the state for violations of the state's “No Call” law. The judgment is the largest “no call” forfeiture in Wisconsin to date.
If First American violates the terms of the settlement, it may be required to pay the state up to $750,000. The judgment also enjoins First American from committing further violations of the “No Call” law and other marketing laws.
The state sued First American earlier this year, alleging massive violations of the state's “No Call” law. According to the state's complaint, the company made approximately three million telephone solicitation calls in 2010, and in some months, half or more of the calls were to telephone numbers on the state's “no call” list. The state's lawsuit also alleged that First American representatives made misrepresentations in the course of telephone solicitation calls, and committed other violations of Wisconsin's telemarketing laws.
According to the state, more than 60 consumers have filed complaints with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) regarding the company's business practices. The state also had previously obtained a consent judgment against First American, in 2005, for “no call” violations.
Apart from imposing penalties and costs on First American, the judgment also prohibits First American from committing future violations of the state's “No Call” and telemarketing laws, and requires First American to implement specific measures designed to prevent future violations. Among other things, the judgment bars First American from misrepresenting that it is a local bank, that a solicitation call concerns a problem with the consumer's existing mortgage, or that First American is affiliated with the consumer's existing mortgage lender.
“As this judgment shows, those who ignore the Wisconsin “no call” list do so at their peril,” Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. “My office will continue to work closely with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to take strong enforcement action against violators, as well as companies who make misleading representations to Wisconsin consumers.”
Assistant Attorney General John Greene and former Assistant Attorney General Nelle Rohlich represented the state in the case, which was investigated and referred to the Department of Justice by DATCP.
Copies of the complaint and summons, and consent judgment are available at the following links: