FTC seeks to hold Alan Moore in contempt over missing $26,500
Digital Altitude CTO Alan Moore reached a proposed settlement with the FTC in September 2018.
As part of the settlement, it was agreed Moore would transfer $46,300 to the FTC.
Following a court order to unfreeze the funds, Moore represented to the FTC that the funds had been placed in escrow with his attorney.
This was reflected in the proposed settlement itself:
Settling Defendant is ordered to pay to the Commission Forty-Six Thousand, Three Hundred Dollars ($46,300.00), which, as Settling Defendant stipulates, his undersigned counsel holds in escrow for no purpose other than payment to the Commission.
In February 2019 Moore’s proposed settlement was approved by the FTC’s Commissioners.
The settlement was thus entered into as a final order on March 4th.
Despite agreeing to the settlement however, to date Moore has failed to uphold his side of it.
In an attempt to hold Moore to the terms of the settlement, the FTC has repeatedly engaged his attorney.
As retold in a motion filed by the FTC on May 2nd, here’s what happened after Moore’s settlement was entered as a final order.
On March 6, FTC counsel emailed Moore’s counsel to provide instructions for the electronic fund transfer.
Moore’s counsel did not respond to this email.
FTC counsel emailed Moore’s counsel again on March 18 regarding the transfer of funds.
Moore’s counsel did not respond.
The next day, FTC counsel called Moore’s counsel and spoke with him by telephone.
During that telephone call, Moore’s counsel stated that he had spoken to his client about the need to transfer funds to comply with the Order, and that despite the Order’s representation, counsel did not hold the funds in escrow.
Whether this is because Moore never transferred the funds or the attorney decided to keep the money is unclear.
Moore’s counsel did not provide a date by which Moore would effect a transfer of funds to the FTC to comply with the Order, but suggested he would discuss the matter with his client and be in touch soon thereafter.
The FTC waited two days before contacting Moore’s attorney again.
On March 21, 2019, FTC counsel again emailed him, asking when Moore would transfer the funds.
Again, there was no response.
FTC counsel then called Moore’s counsel on March 25, 2019, and left a voicemail seeking information about the status of the funds transfer.
After not receiving a response to that voicemail, FTC counsel emailed Moore’s counsel yet again, on March 28, 2019.
In that email the FTC advised they intended to initiate contempt proceedings against Moore.
It was only then that Moore’s attorney responded.
Moore’s counsel responded to that email with the news that Moore was in the process of wiring $11,000 to the FTC, but that Moore did not have the ability to pay the remainder at that time.
Moore’s counsel stated that he would inform FTC counsel later that day or the next morning when Moore expected to pay the remainder.
Again, no explanation was forthcoming as to why the $46,300 wasn’t in escrow as per the settlement agreement.
And the plot thickens…
FTC counsel responded the following day, March 29, informing Moore’s counsel that, according to the FTC’s records, there was more than $11,000 in the four frozen accounts that this Court had authorized transferring to Moore’s counsel’s escrow account.
In response, Moore’s counsel called FTC counsel later that day and stated that Moore was in the process of transferring $8,500 to the FTC, had wired $11,300 to the FTC earlier that week, and was borrowing funds to pay the balance, $26,500.
Moore’s counsel informed FTC counsel that the remaining funds would be transferred by the middle of the following week (i.e., on or about April 3, 2019).
Moore’s counsel then sent an email confirming that Moore would transfer the remaining funds by the middle of the following week.
The FTC did receive $17,100 in wire transfers, however the promised $26,500 outstanding balance is still MIA.
Remember, the full $43,600 was released per court order to be held in escrow – for the sole purpose of transfer to the FTC pending settlement approval.
FTC counsel spoke with Moore’s counsel on April 3, and Moore’s counsel indicated that Moore would be able to effect the final transfer by Thursday, April 4, after his bank’s hold on the funds he had deposited was lifted.
Again, however, Moore failed to transfer the funds.
FTC counsel called Moore’s counsel on April 5, 2019, was unable to reach him, and so followed up with another email asking when the funds would be sent.
FTC counsel called and spoke with Moore’s counsel on April 9; he stated that Moore’s bank was still holding the funds.
During the call, FTC counsel again sought a date certain as to when Moore would transfer the funds to comply with the Order.
After Moore’s counsel failed to respond to that request, FTC counsel wrote to Moore’s counsel on April 15, again asking for a date certain when Moore would transfer the remaining funds.
Moore’s counsel failed to respond to that email.
This resumed the FTC’s efforts to hold Moore in contempt, which again only then prompted a reply from Moore’s attorney.
Moore’s counsel wrote that Moore’s bank was “messing with him,” and had not yet released the funds he had deposited in his account to pay the FTC.
And from there the situation rapidly deteriorates further in cartoonish fashion.
By that time, April 24, three weeks had passed since Moore allegedly deposited the funds into his account.
Moore’s counsel also wrote that the bank might release the funds that night, and that he would update FTC counsel in the morning.
The next day, April 25, Moore’s counsel told FTC counsel over the phone that Moore may have upset the bank, causing the bank’s continued refusal to release the funds.
Moore’s counsel acknowledged that the situation had become “ridiculous,” and represented that he would seek evidence from Moore of his claimed attempts to comply with the Order.
On April 30, FTC counsel again emailed Moore’s counsel, advising him of the FTC’s intent to file this motion, and asking that Moore’s counsel advise the FTC as soon as possible if any further meet-and-confer might obviate the need for it.
As of this filing, Moore’s counsel has not responded to that email, no evidence has been produced to the FTC regarding Moore’s efforts to comply with the Order, and Moore still has not transferred the outstanding $26,500 payment to the FTC.
And that’s where we’re at as of the FTC’s May 2nd show cause motion.
To state something fishy is going on between Moore, his attorney and possibly his bank is an understatement.
In their motion, the FTC states “clear and convincing evidence” shows Moore violated the settlement agreement and order.
As per the Digital Altitude case docket, a hearing on the motion has been scheduled for June 3rd.
Pending the miraculous appearance of $26,500 in the next three weeks, the hearing is shaping up to be a popcorn banger. Stay tuned…
Update 25th May 2019 – So uh, miracles do happen.
Following the FTC’s show cause motion, Alan Moore transferred the outstanding $26,500 balance.
On May 23rd the FTC filed a notice withdrawing their show cause motion.