The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday said a federal judge in St. Louis found a Las Vegas-based company that helps companies incorporate in contempt of court.
Senior U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh of St. Louis ruled that Asset Protection Group of Las Vegas and its partners, Richard Neiswonger and William S. Reed, violated a 1997 order that barred Neiswonger from engaging an a fraudulent asset protection business.
“I thought we did everything appropriately, and we bent over backward to comply with the 1997 consent decree,” Neiswonger said. “I understand this is being appealed, and we believe it is an unfair ruling.”
Attempts to contact Reed and his attorney for comment failed.
The defendants’ company promised clients it could protect their assets from creditors, according to the FTC. The Federal Trade Commission, however, accused the company of selling $9,800 for one-day training programs to untrained workers who were told they could make more than $100,000 making cold calls to solicit clients for Asset Protection Group.
About 94 percent of the sales workers never earned their training fees. Only one person earned a six-figure income, and hundreds of consumers lost money.
Neiswonger agreed to a permanent injunction in 1997 in a similar scheme, the FTC said. The judge found that Neiswonger was in civil contempt of the order and that his partner Reed and Asset Protection Group also were in contempt, because Reed knew of the injunction.
The judge directed receiver Robb Evans of Las Vegas to determine how much money the defendants made through the scheme so that the judge can issue a monetary judgment against the defendants. The judge banned Neiswonger from advertising, promoting or selling “in any program” and from telemarketing.