Federal And State Regulators Shut Down Grant-Writing Scam In Florida
On June 27th, 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it was working with the State of Florida to take enforcement action against a company called C Lee Enterprises LLC (DBA: Grant Bae) and its owner Traeshonna P. Graham. Ms. Graham allegedly took advantage of minority-owned small businesses that were seeking COVID-19 related relief funds. Here, our Miami deceptive & unfair trade practices lawyers offer a more detailed overview of the enforcement action and explain your rights under Florida’s deceptive trade practices laws.
Enforcement Action: False Promises of “Guaranteed Funding”
As stated in the press release from the FTC, Traeshonna P. Graham is the owner and operator of a company called Grant Bae. Ms. Graham is listed as a resident of Lake City, Florida. The complaint contends that Grant Bae used social media to target minority-owned small businesses that were seeking COVID-19 pandemic-related economic relief. Grant Bae purportedly false promises that clients could get quick and easy access to “guaranteed” COVID-19 relief funds. Grant Bae primarily touted its services on Facebook, Instagram, and other popular social media platforms. The FTC alleges the following material misrepresentations:
- False Promises: The company made false promises that clients would get substantial and guaranteed relief funds. Most actual and prospective clients were promised a minimum of $25,000. Customers that paid nearly $7,000 for higher level services were promised at least $250,000.
- Misrepresentations of Status: According to the complaint, clients of Grant Bae were given access to an online portal that misled them about the status of their “grant.” The portal was to say that funds had been awarded even if that was not the case.
- Deceptive Money Back Guarantee: Grant Bae advertised a money back guarantee—stating that all fees would be refunded if a COVID-19 grant was not approved. However, FTC alleges that no clients actually received the refund that was promised.
The FTC has not taken enforcement action against the company and its owner. It obtained a federal court order to shut down Grant Bae and freeze assets.
You Can File a Lawsuit Under the FDUTPA
In this case, the FTC and Florida regulatory agencies have taken enforcement action to bring a stop to the Grant Bae scam. That being said, individuals and businesses do not have to wait for authorities to challenge commercial fraud and/or consumer fraud in Florida. Under the state FDUTPA (Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act), a private right of action exists. A party can file its own lawsuit for damages for deceptive and otherwise unfair business practices.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a Business and Consumer Fraud Lawyer
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, we represent clients in the full range of business and consumer fraud claims. If you were defrauded, we are here to help you pursue full and proper financial compensation for your damages. Give us a call now to set up a confidential initial consultation. From our Miami, West Palm Beach, and Wellington law offices, we handle business and consumer fraud cases throughout South Florida.