February 5, 2013

The defendants in a scheme that allegedly bilked consumers out of more than $100 million by falsely claiming they could reduce their tax debts must surrender more than $15 million in cash and assets to settle charges that they violated federal law.  Under the settlement order, American Tax Relief LLC and its leader, Alexander Seung Hahn, are banned from telemarketing, and they and Hahn’s wife, Joo Hyun Park, are permanently prohibited from selling debt relief services.

In September of 2010, the FTC filed charges against American Tax Relief, Hahn, and Park. Subsequently, a court halted the allegedly illegal practices, froze the defendants’ assets, and appointed a receiver to manage the company pending resolution of the case.

In August 2012, the court entered partial summary judgment in favor of the FTC, finding that the defendants falsely claimed they already had significantly reduced the tax debts of thousands of people and falsely told individual consumers they qualified for tax relief programs that would significantly reduce their tax debts. Hahn was found by the court personally liable for the challenged practices.

The settlement order imposes a $103.3 million judgment against ATR, Hahn, and Joo HyunPark.  It also imposes judgments of $18 million and $595,000, respectively, against relief defendants Young Soon Park and Il Kon Park, (Joo Park’s parents) who were found by the court to have received significant sums from the scheme’s earnings.  The judgments will be suspended once both the defendants and relief defendants have surrendered assets that total more than $15 million, including cash, a home in Beverly Hills and a condo in Los Angeles, jewelry and gold items, and a 2005 FerrariIf the defendants or relief defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition, the full judgments will become due immediately.

Also prohibited in the order is ATR, Hahn, and Park’s ability to misrepresent material facts about any products or services, collect payments from the scheme’s customers, sell or otherwise benefit from customers’ personal information, and fail to properly dispose of customer information.

The Commission vote to approve the proposed stipulated final judgment was 5-0.  The stipulated final judgment was entered by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on January 29, 2013.