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                FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
                     WASHINGTON, D.C. 20554
                         January 22, 2004

VIA CERTIFIED MAIL
RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED
AND FACSIMILE

William T. Ficka, III                        William T. Ficka, 
III
The Ficka Companies, Inc.                    The Ficka Companies, 
Inc.
d.b.a. Ficka Co., Inc.                       d.b.a. Ficka Co., 
Inc.
d.b.a. Nicole, Thomas & Associates           d.b.a. Nicole, 
Thomas & Associates
d.b.a. USA Debt Recovery                d.b.a. USA Debt Recovery
d.b.a. IDCC Worldwide, Inc.                  d.b.a. IDCC 
Worldwide, Inc.
d.b.a. International Debt Collectors              d.b.a. 
International Debt Collectors
  Consortium, Inc.                             Consortium, Inc.
7301 Topanga Canyon Boulevard, Suite 205          7301 Topanga 
Canyon Boulevard, Suite 204
Canoga Park, California  91303               Canoga Park, 
California  91303

William T. Ficka, III                        William T. Ficka, 
III            
The Ficka Companies, Inc.                    IDCC Worldwide, Inc.
d.b.a. Ficka Co., Inc.                       d.b.a. International 
Debt Collectors
d.b.a. Nicole, Thomas & Associates             Consortium, Inc.
d.b.a. USA Debt Recovery                352 Government Street
d.b.a. IDCC Worldwide, Inc.                  Mobile, Alabama  
36602-2316
d.b.a. International Debt Collectors              
  Consortium, Inc.                      William T. Ficka, III
5238 Beckford Avenue                    203 South Drive
Tarzana, California  91356                   Fairhope, Alabama  
36532

William T. Ficka, III
955 Downtowner Boulevard, Suite 117
Mobile, Alabama  36609-5421
                                     
          RE:  EB-04-TC-011

Dear Mr. Ficka: 

     This is an official CITATION and LETTER OF INQUIRY issued 
pursuant to sections 4(i), 403, and 503(b)(5) of the 
Communications Act, as amended (the Act), 47 U.S.C.  154(i), 



403, 503(b)(5), for violations of the Act and the Federal 
Communications Commission's rules that govern telephone 
solicitations and unsolicited advertisements.1 

     It has come to our attention that you apparently sent one or 
more unsolicited advertisements to telephone facsimile machines 
in violation of section 227(b)(1)(C) of the Act and section 
64.1200(a)(3) of the Commission's rules.  The purpose of this 
correspondence is (1) to inform you of your potential liability 
for monetary forfeitures if you continue to send unsolicited fax 
advertisements, and (2) to gather information regarding your 
business's corporate structure, business relationships, and 
involvement in advertising practices that fall under section 227 
of the Act and section 64.1200 of the Commission's rules.   

     As set forth below, we direct you to respond to this 
Citation and Letter of Inquiry by providing the information and 
documents specified below no later than 30 days after the date of 
this correspondence.

        I.  CITATION FOR APPARENT VIOLATIONS OF THE TCPA

     Materials attached to this Citation and Letter of Inquiry 
indicate that you apparently sent unsolicited advertisements to 
telephone facsimile machines.  Under section 227(b)(1)(C) of the 
Act and section 64.1200(a)(3) of the Commission's rules it is 
``unlawful for any person within the United States, or any person 
outside the United States if the recipient is within the United 
States . . . to use a telephone facsimile machine, computer, or 
other device to send an unsolicited advertisement to a telephone 
facsimile machine.'' 2   

     The term ``unsolicited advertisement'' is defined in the Act 
and the Commission's rules as ``any material advertising the 
commercial availability or quality of any property, goods, or 
services which is transmitted to any person without that person's 
prior express invitation or permission.''3  Under Commission 
rules and orders currently in effect, the Commission considers 


an established business relationship between a fax sender and 
recipient to constitute prior express invitation or permission to 
send a facsimile advertisement.4  Mere distribution or 
publication of a fax number, however, does not establish consent 
to receive advertisements by fax.5

     If, after receipt of this citation, you violate the 
Communications Act or the Commission's rules in any manner 
described herein, the Commission may impose monetary forfeitures 
not to exceed $11,000 for each such violation or each day of a 
continuing violation. 6

     You may respond to this citation within 30 days from the 
date of this letter either through (1) a personal interview at 
the Commission's Field Office nearest to your place of business, 
or (2) a written statement.  Your response should specify the 
actions that you are taking to ensure that you do not violate the 
Commission's rules governing telephone solicitation and 
unsolicited advertisements, as described above.  
     
     The nearest Commission field office appears to be either the 
Los Angeles Office at Cerritos Corporate Towers, 18000 Studebaker 
Road, Room 660, Cerritos, California  90703-2692 or the Atlanta 
Office at 3575 Koger Boulevard, Room 320, Duluth, Georgia  30096-
4958.  You can contact the Los Angeles Office or Atlanta Office 
by telephone at (562) 860-7474 or (770) 935-3370, respectively.  
You should schedule any interview to take place within 30 days of 
the date of this letter.  You should send any written statement 
within 30 days of the date of this letter to the undersigned, as 
specified below. 

     Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are 
available upon request.  Include a description of the 
accommodation you will need including as much detail as you can.  
Also include a way we can contact you if we need more 
information.  Please allow at least 5 days advance notice; last 
minute requests will be accepted, but may be impossible to fill.  
Send an e-mail to fcc504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & 
Governmental Affairs Bureau:


          
     For sign language interpreters, CART, and other reasonable 
accommodations: 
     202-418-0530 (voice), 202-418-0432 (tty);

          For accessible format materials (braille, large print, 
electronic files, and audio 
     format): 202-418-0531 (voice), 202-418-7365 (tty). 

      II.  INQUIRY REGARDING CORPORATE STRUCTURE, BUSINESS 
               RELATIONSHIPS, AND ADVERTISING PRACTICES 

Instructions

     If the Companies request that any information or Documents, 
as defined herein, responsive to this letter be treated in a 
confidential manner, they shall submit, along with all responsive 
information and Documents, as defined herein, a statement in 
accordance with Section 0.459 of the Commission's rules.  47 
C.F.R.  0.459.  Requests for confidential treatment must comply 
with the requirements of Section 0.459, including the standards 
of specificity mandated by Section 0.459(b).  Accordingly, 
``blanket'' requests for confidentiality of a large set of 
documents are unacceptable.  Pursuant with Section 0.459(c), the 
Bureau will not consider requests that do not comply with the 
requirements of Section 0.459. 

     If the Companies withhold any information or Documents under 
claim of privilege, they shall submit, together with any claim of 
privilege, a schedule of the items withheld that states, 
individually as to each such item, the numbered inquiry to which 
each item responds and the type, title, specific subject matter, 
and date of the item; the names, addresses, positions, and 
organizations of all authors and recipients of the item; and the 
specific ground(s) for claiming that the item is privileged.

     Each requested Document not subject to a claim of privilege 
shall be submitted in its entirety, even if only a portion of 
that Document is responsive to an inquiry made herein.  This 
means that the Document shall not be edited, cut, or expunged, 
and shall include all appendices, tables, or other attachments, 
and all other Documents referred to in the Document or 
attachments.  All written materials necessary to understand any 
Document responsive to these inquiries must also be submitted. 

     If a Document responsive to any inquiry made herein existed 
but is no longer available, or if the Companies are unable for 
any reason to produce a Document responsive to any inquiry, 
identify each such Document by author, recipient, date, title, 
and specific subject matter, and explain fully why the Document 
is no longer available or why the Companies are otherwise unable 
to produce it.

     With respect only to Documents responsive to the specific 
inquiries made herein and any other Documents relevant to those 
inquiries , the Companies are directed to retain the originals of 
those Documents for twenty-four (24) months from the date of this 
letter unless (1) the Companies are directed or informed by the 
Enforcement Bureau in writing to retain such Documents  for some 
other period of time or (2) the Enforcement Bureau and/or the 
Commission 


releases any item on the subject of this investigation, 
including, but not limited to, a Notice of Apparent Liability for 
Forfeiture or an order disposing of the issues in the 
investigation, in which case, the Companies must retain all such 
Documents until the matter has been finally concluded by payment 
of any monetary penalty, satisfaction of all conditions, 
expiration of all possible appeals, conclusion of any collection 
action brought by the United States Department of Justice or 
execution and implementation of a final settlement with the 
Commission or the Enforcement Bureau.

     The specific inquiries made herein are continuing in nature.  
The Companies are required to produce in the future any and all 
Documents and information that are responsive to the inquiries 
made herein but not initially produced at the time, date and 
place specified herein.  In this regard, the Companies must 
supplement its responses (a) if the Companies learn that, in some 
material respect, the Documents and information initially 
disclosed were incomplete or incorrect or (b) if additional 
responsive Documents or information are acquired by or become 
known to the Companies after the initial production.  The 
requirement to update the record will continue for twenty-four 
(24) months from the date of this letter unless (1) the Companies 
are directed or informed by the Enforcement Bureau in writing 
that the Companies' obligation to update the record will continue 
for some other period of time or (2) the Enforcement Bureau 
and/or the Commission releases an item on the subject of this 
investigation, including, but not limited to, a Notice of 
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture or an order disposing of the 
issues in the investigation, in which case the obligation to 
update the record will continue until the release of such item.

     For each Document or statement submitted in response to the 
inquiries below, indicate, by number, to which inquiry it is 
responsive and identify the person(s) from whose files the 
Document was retrieved.  If any Document is not dated, state the 
date on which it was prepared.  If any Document does not identify 
its author(s) or recipient(s), state, if known, the name(s) of 
the author(s) or recipient(s).  The Companies must identify with 
reasonable specificity all Documents provided in response to 
these inquiries.    

     Unless otherwise indicated, the period of time covered by 
these inquiries begins January 1, 1999 and ends with the date of 
the Companies' response. 

Definitions

     For purposes of this Letter of Inquiry, the following 
definitions apply:

     "Any" shall be construed to include the word "all," and the 
word "all" shall be construed to include the word "any."  
Additionally, the word "or" shall be construed to include the 
word "and," and the word "and" shall be construed to include the 
word "or."  The word "each" shall be construed to include the 
word "every," and the word "every" shall be construed to include 
the word "each."





     "Document" shall mean the complete original (or in lieu 
thereof, exact copies of the original) and any non-identical copy 
(whether different from the original because of notations on the 
copy or otherwise), regardless of origin or location, of any 
taped, recorded, transcribed, written, typed, printed, filmed, 
punched, computer-stored, or graphic matter of every type and 
description, however and by whomever prepared, produced, 
disseminated, or made, including but not limited to any 
advertisement, book, pamphlet, periodical, contract, 
correspondence, letter, facsimile, e-mail, file, invoice, 
memorandum, note, telegram, report, record, handwritten note, 
working paper, routing slip, chart, graph, photograph, paper, 
index, map, tabulation, manual, guide, outline, script, abstract, 
history, calendar, diary, agenda, minute, marketing plan, 
research paper, preliminary drafts, or versions of all of the 
above, and computer material (print-outs, cards, magnetic or 
electronic tapes, disks and such codes or instructions as will 
transform such computer materials into easily understandable 
form).

      ``Companies'' shall include each company as noted on page 1 
of this letter, and any predecessor-in-interest, 
successor?in?interest, affiliate, parent company, any wholly or 
partially owned subsidiary, or other affiliated company(s) or 
business(es), and all owners, including but not limited to, 
partners or principals, and all directors, officers, employees, 
or agents, including consultants and any other persons working 
for or on behalf of the foregoing at any time during the period 
covered by this letter.

C.   Documents and Information to be Provided

1.   Provide the following information:

  a.      The name, address, and telephone number for each 
     corporate officer, owner, and/or partner of the Companies; 
  b.      The address and telephone number of each of the 
     Companies' corporate headquarters and any other address and 
     telephone number at which the Companies conduct business; 
  c.      Any name other than that noted on page 1 of this letter 
     under which the Companies conduct business;

  Provide articles of incorporation and any other documents that 
  record or relate to the Companies' registration to conduct 
  business within any state in the United States.

2.   Describe in detail any business relationship between, or 
  business activities or transactions that involve, either 
  William T. Ficka, III or the Companies.

3.   Describe in detail any business relationship between, or 
  business activities or transactions that involve, either 
  William T. Ficka, III or the Companies and the following 
  entities7 or 



individuals, including any fictitious entities or individuals 
operating ordinary business under the following names:

  a.      Debt Collectors International, Inc. 
  b.      Mancini, O'Malley & Cole;  
  c.      Debt Recovery International, Inc.;
  d.      Conlon, Cahill & Murphy;
  e.      Thomas, Thomas, Alexis & Lynn;
  f.      Campbell, Campbell, Drexler & Gates;
  g.      Ashton, Ashton, O'Riley & Schwartz;
  h.      Karla Brown
  i.      Melissa Midkiff;
  j.      Jim W. Zeigler;
  k.      Rudolph Stearnes, III;
  l.      Kyle Holder;
  m.      William ``Bill'' Thomas;
  n.      William G. Jones, III;
  o.      Theodore Hust;
  p.      Robert Nieto;

  Provide any relevant documents that relate to such 
  relationships, activities, or transactions. 

4.   Describe any information regarding fax advertising, 
  including offers to sell fax numbers, generated by or on 
  behalf of  William T. Ficka, III or the Companies.

5.   Describe any information regarding fax advertising either 
  received by William T. Ficka, III or the Companies from, or 
  provided by the William T. Ficka, III or Companies to, the 
  entities or individuals listed above in 2(a)-(p).  Provide any 
  relevant documents.

We encourage you to furnish any additional documents or provide a 
statement of any other facts that you believe may be relevant to 
this inquiry.

     Finally, you are directed to provide an affidavit or 
declaration pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 
 1746 and 47 C.F.R.  1.16, signed by an authorized officer of 
your company, which states that all of the documents and 
information requested by this letter which are in your 
possession, custody, control, or knowledge have been produced, 
and which certifies that the information produced is true and 
correct.  You should be aware that the knowing and willful making 
of any false statement, or the concealment of any material fact, 
in reply to this Citation and Letter of Inquiry is punishable by 
fine or imprisonment under 18 U.S.C.  1001.

     Your response to this inquiry and any written response to 
the citation should be submitted no later than 30 days from the 
date of this letter to:





               Kurt A. Schroeder
               Deputy Chief
                                    Telecommunications Consumers 
Division
               Enforcement Bureau
               Federal Communications Commission
               445-12th Street, S.W.
               Rm. 3-C366
               Washington, D.C.  20554 

Reference EB-04-TC-011 when corresponding with the Commission.

     Under the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C.  552(a)(e)(3), we 
are informing you that the Commission's staff will use all 
relevant material information before it, including information 
that you disclose in your interview or written statement in 
response to the Citation and Letter of Inquiry, to determine 
what, if any, enforcement action is required to ensure your 
compliance with the Communications Act and the Commission's 
rules.  

     The knowing and willful making of any false statement, or 
the concealment of any material fact, in reply to this citation 
is punishable by fine or imprisonment under 18 U.S.C.  1001.

     Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation.  You 
may contact Mary Romano at (202) 418-0975 or Mr. Schroeder at 
(202) 418-0966 if you have any questions about this inquiry.

                         Sincerely, 




                         Kurt A. Schroeder
                         Deputy Chief, Telecommunications 
                         Consumers Division
                         Enforcement Bureau
                         Federal Communications Commission

Enclosures     





_________________________

1 47 U.S.C.  227; 47 C.F.R.  64.1200.  A copy of these 
provisions is enclosed for your convenience.  Section 227 was 
added to the Communications Act by the Telephone Consumer 
Protection Act of 1991 and is most commonly known as the TCPA.  
The TCPA and the Commission's parallel rules restrict a variety 
of practices that are associated with telephone solicitation and 
use of the telephone network to deliver unsolicited 
advertisements, including fax advertising.

2 47 U.S.C.  227(b)(1)(C); 47 C.F.R.  64.1200(a)(3).  Both the 
TCPA and the Commission's rules define ``telephone facsimile 
machine'' as ``equipment which has the capacity to transcribe 
text or images, or both, from paper into an electronic signal and 
to transmit that signal over a regular telephone line, or to 
transcribe text or images (or both) from an electronic signal 
received over a regular telephone line onto paper.'' 47 U.S.C.  
227(a)(2); 47 C.F.R.  64.1200(f)(8).  The Commission has stated 
that ``[t]he TCPA's definition of `telephone facsimile machine' 
broadly applies to any equipment that has the capacity to send or 
receive text or images.''  Thus, ``faxes sent to personal 
computers equipped with, or attached to, modems and to 
computerized fax servers are subject to the TCPA's prohibition on 
unsolicited faxes. . . [although] the prohibition does not extend 
to facsimile messages sent as email over the Internet.'' Rules 
and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection 
Act of 1991, Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd 14014, 14131-32 (2003) 
(2003 TCPA Report and Order).

3 47 U.S.C.  227(a)(4); 47 C.F.R.  64.1200(f)(10).
 
4 Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer 
Protection Act of 1991, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 10 FCC Rcd 
12391, 12405 (1995) (1995 TCPA Reconsideration Order).  In June 
2003, the Commission amended its rules to specify that prior 
express invitation or permission to receive a facsimile 
advertisement must be recorded in a ``signed written statement 
that includes the facsimile number to which any advertisements 
may be sent and clearly indicates the recipient's consent to 
receive such facsimile advertisements from the sender.'' 2003 
TCPA Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 14124-28 (adopting new 
section 64.1200(a)(3)(i).  This new provision, which supercedes 
the established business relationship exception, is scheduled to 
take effect January 1, 2005.  Rules and Regulations Implementing 
the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, Order on 
Reconsideration, 18 FCC Rcd 16972 (2003); Rules and Regulations 
Implementing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, 
Order, FCC 03-230 (rel. Oct. 3, 2003).  The Commission currently 
is considering petitions that seek to retain the established 
business relationship exception or require methods other than a 
signed written statement to demonstrate prior express consent to 
receive fax advertising.

51995 Reconsideration Order, 10 FCC Rcd at 12408-09; see also 
2003 TCPA Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 14128 (concluding that 
publication of a fax number in a trade publication or directory 
does not demonstrate consent to receive fax advertising).

6 See 47 C.F.R.  1.80(b)(3).
7 Each entity shall encompass, to the extent they are known to 
you, any affiliate, d/b/a, parent companies, any wholly or 
partially owned subsidiary, or other affiliated companies or 
businesses, and all directors, officers, employees, or agents, 
including consultants and any other persons working for or on 
behalf of the foregoing at any time during the period covered by 
this letter.