A series of enforcement actions by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services against telemarketing individuals and entities has led to a series of arrests and fines levied over the past week. Florida law requires all businesses and individual salespersons engaging in telephone solicitation be licensed by the department.
According to Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s office:
On Monday, the department arrested two individuals and issued an Administrative Complaint against Priority Funding Group, LLC, of Largo.
On Tuesday, another individual was arrested and the department issued an Administrative Complaint against NRG Solutions of Clearwater. Collectively, the department has fined telemarketing firms in Tampa Bay more than $100,000 this week.
On Thursday, the department arrested an individual in Pinellas County for Solicitation of Sales without a License.
Also on Thursday, investigators discovered 88 unlicensed salespersons working at an unlicensed telemarketing firm in Dunedin during a surprise inspection on Wednesday. The department issued an immediate Order to Cease and Desist to Consumer Sales Solutions, LLC, and warnings to the 48 unlicensed salespersons who were on the premises during the inspection. Consumer Sales Solutions, LLC, paid a $91,000 penalty.
Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can contact the department’s consumer assistance and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).