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Florida AG Says Company Disguised Car Ads as Stimulus Checks

A marketing company in Florida is facing criticism for disguising car ads as federal stimulus checks, in an attempt to attract customers to a tent sale, Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office said on Thursday.

The company, Traffic Jam Events, LLC and its owner, David Jeansonne, II, allegedly sent the deceptive ads to more than 35,000 consumers between March 27 and April 5 in Bushnell, a city located northeast of Tampa.

According to the attorney general’s office, the Consumer Protection Division opened an investigation against the company and Jeansonne, as well as the dealer that provided the cars for the tent sale, MK Automotive, Inc. d/b/a New Wave, as well as its owner, Michael Kastrenakes.

The owner of the dealership is cooperating with the investigation at this time, and has entered an assurance of voluntary compliance with the Attorney General’s Office.

“This type of deceptive marketing is completely unacceptable and is even more outrageous during these challenging times. These marketing ploys prey on people’s desperate anticipation of stimulus assistance and falsely suggest that there is government stimulus funding for auto purchases,” Attorney General Moody said.

She continued, “These misleading practices will not be tolerated, and if anyone tries to take advantage of this crisis and the legitimate financial assistance available for those in need, my office will hold you accountable.”

The Attorney General’s Office also filed a motion this week for a temporary injunction to prevent the defendants from making false and deceptive representations regarding the COVID-19 stimulus program. A news release adds that Moody’s office is also seeking equitable relief, civil penalties and fees for violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Read the full complaint here.