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, according to terms of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
American Tax Relief LLC, and its leader, Alexander Seung Hahn, are banned from telemarketing and permanently prohibited from selling debt relief service. Hahn's wife, Joo Hyun Park, is also prohibited from selling debt relief services.
The FTC filed charges against American Tax Relief, Hahn and Park in September 2010. A court later 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. The court found Hahn personally liable for the challenged practices.
The settlement order imposes a $103.3 million judgment against ATR, Hahn and Park. It also imposes judgments of $18 million and $595,000, respectively, against defendants Young Soon Park and Il Kon Park, Joo Park’s parents, who were not charged with participating in the scheme but were found by the court to have received significant sums.
The judgments will be suspended once 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 Ferrari. The full judgments will become due immediately if the defendants or relief defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
The order also prohibits American Tax Relief, Hahn and Park from misrepresenting material facts about any products or services, collecting payments from the scheme’s customers, selling or otherwise benefitting from customers’ personal information and failing to properly dispose of customer information.