David Vladeck, the Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission, spoke at a program entitled “Applying Long-Standing FTC Standards to New Technology” held this past Friday at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting in Chicago.
The moderator of the program was Joel Winston, the former Associate Director of the FTC’s Division of Financial Practices who is now in private practice. Joel asked Director Vladeck whether there was any truth to the rumor that there is competition between the Bureau and the Commission regarding who can get to the court house first. This suspicion was exacerbated by the lawsuit filed last month by the Bureau against a law firm in California which, according to the Bureau’s complaint, was engaged in a mortgage relief scam. Historically, these types of cases have been brought by the FTC. Indeed, the FTC promulgated the very regulation upon which the Bureau predicated its lawsuit.
Director Vladeck denied that there was any competition between the two agencies. He maintained that the two agencies are working very closely together through various joint agency working groups. He stated that there is “a target rich environment” which enables both agencies to pursue companies engaged in unlawful activities.