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                           Before the
               FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
                     Washington, D.C. 20554

In the Matter of                   )
                              )
US Notary, Inc.                         )    File No. EB-00-TC-
011
                              )
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture       )    NAL/Acct. No. 
X3217-006                          
          NOTICE OF APPARENT LIABILITY FOR FORFEITURE

    Adopted: July 27, 2000         Released: August 1, 2000

By the Commission:

                       I.   INTRODUCTION

     1.   In this  Notice of  Apparent Liability for  Forfeiture 
(NAL),  we find  that US  Notary, Inc.  (US Notary)1  apparently 
willfully   or   repeatedly  violated   section   227   of   the 
Communications  Act   of  1934,  as   amended  (Act),  and   the 
Commission's   rules   and  orders,   by   sending   unsolicited 
advertisements to  telephone facsimile machines.2  Based  on the 
facts and  circumstances surrounding these apparent  violations, 
we find  that US Notary is  apparently liable for forfeiture  in 
the amount of $90,000.3
                        II.  BACKGROUND

     2.   On  July 12,  1999, in  response  to several  consumer 
letters  indicating   that  US  Notary  had   faxed  unsolicited 
advertisements,  the Commission staff  issued a  citation to  US 
Notary, pursuant to  section 503 of the Act.4  Specifically, the 
staff cited US Notary for allegedly  using a telephone facsimile 
machine,  computer,   or  other  device,  to   send  unsolicited 
advertisements to  a telephone  facsimile machine, in  violation 
of  section  227 of  the  Act  and the  Commission's  rules  and 
orders.   The unsolicited  advertisements  offered a  ``One  Day 
Training  Seminar'' to  become a  Notary  Public.  The  citation 
included copies of the consumer letters,  and informed US Notary 
that  subsequent violations could  result in  the imposition  of 
monetary  forfeitures of  up  to  $11,000 per  violation.5   The 
citation informed US  Notary that within 21 days of the  date of 
the citation,  it could either  request a personal interview  at 
the  nearest  Commission  field office,  or  provide  a  written 
statement  responding  to  the  citation.    The  signed  return 
receipt card shows that US Notary received  the citation on July 
17,  1999.  The  owner  of US  Notary,  Bruce Johnson  met  with 
Commission staff  on August 3,  1999.  During that meeting,  the 
staff  advised  Mr.   Johnson  that  it  is  unlawful   to  send 
unsolicited advertisements  to telephone facsimile machines,  as 
defined by the Telephone Consumer Protection  Act (TCPA) and the 
Commission's rules,6 and provided him with a copy of the TCPA.

     3.   Despite  the citation  and  the subsequent  August  3, 
1999  meeting,  the  Commission  has  received  several  letters 
stating   that   US  Notary   continued   to   fax   unsolicited 
advertisements.7   We  base  our  action   here  on  unsolicited 
advertisements that US Notary has sent since  July 17, 1999, the 
day US Notary received the staff's citation.8  

     4.   The Arrick  Robotics Letter.  Mr. Roger  Arrick, owner 
of Arrick  Robotics states that  US Notary faxed an  unsolicited 
advertisement to  Arrick Robotics in  December 1999, March  2000 
and again  on April 28, 2000.9   Mr. Arrick further states  that 
at no  time did he or anyone  at Arrick Robotics give  US Notary 
permission  or invitation  to send  these faxes.   Additionally, 
Mr.  Arrick  states  that  Arrick  Robotics  does  not  have  an 
established business relationship with US Notary.10     

     5.   The Joe  Shields Letter.  Mr.  Joe Shields, a  Systems 
Engineering  Specialist who is  employed by  Lockheed Martin  at 
Johnson Space  Center, states that  US Notary faxed  unsolicited 
advertisements to Johnson  Space Center on the  following dates: 
(1) October 11, 1999; (2) October 12,  1999; (3) one fax between 
October 11, 1999 and October 16, 1999;  (4) December 10, 1999 at 
approximately 9:41 a.m.; (5) December 10,  1999 at approximately 
12:01 p.m.;  (6) February 28,  2000 at approximately 9:47  a.m.; 
(7) February  28, 2000 at  approximately  11:52 a.m.; (8)  March 
1, 2000;  (9) two  faxes on  May 3, 2000  at approximately  3:05 
p.m.;  (10) two  faxes  on May  3,  2000 at  approximately  3:06 
p.m.11  Mr.  Shields states that neither  he nor anyone else  at 
Johnson  Space  Center   gave  US  Notary  permission   to  send 
advertisements  to  Johnson Space  Center's  fax  machine.   Mr. 
Shields further states  that Johnson Space Center does  not have 
an established business relationship with US Notary.

     6.   The Pratt  Letter.  Mr. William  Pratt states that  US 
notary  sent  an  unsolicited  advertisement  to  his  telephone 
facsimile machine in April 2000.  Mr.  Pratt further states that 
the facsimile did not have a  header.12  Additionally, Mr. Pratt 
states that neither  he nor anyone else authorized US  Notary to 
send  these faxes  and  that he  does  not have  an  established 
business relationship with US Notary. 

     7.   The  other  faxes.   The  remaining  consumer  letters 
supporting this NAL were forwarded to us  by the Texas Office of 
the  Attorney   General  and  are   factually  similar  to   the 
allegations  in  the consumer  letters  described  above.13   US 
Notary also  faxed two unsolicited  advertisements to the  Texas 
Office of the Attorney General.14

A.          Violations Evidenced in the Letters.

     8.   Section 227(b)(1)(C)  of the Act prohibits  any person 
from using ``a  telephone facsimile machine, computer,  or other 
device  to send  an  unsolicited  advertisement to  a  telephone 
facsimile machine.''15  An unsolicited advertisement is  defined 
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.''16  The  Commission has  determined, 
however, that  an established business relationship  establishes 
consent   to    receive   telephone   facsimile    advertisement 
transmissions.17   The mere  distribution  or publication  of  a 
telephone  facsimile  number  does  not   confer  invitation  or 
permission to transmit advertisements to  a particular telephone 
facsimile machine.18 

     9.   Each  facsimile transmission  upon which  this NAL  is 
based describes the same commercial service,  a  ``Notary Public 
One  Day   Training  Seminar''  with  an   ``Early  Registration 
Special,'' ``$119.00 [for the] First Person  ($139 if postmarked 
[after a certain  date]).''  We find that these  facsimiles fall 
within the definition of an unsolicited advertisement.19 

     10.  The record  indicates that none  of the recipients  of 
the faxes described  in the letters had an  established business 
relationship with US Notary, and there is  no evidence that they 
gave US  Notary permission or  invitation to send the  facsimile 
transmissions.   Thus  US  Notary  appears  to  have  sent  each 
facsimile transmission  without the prior express  invitation or 
permission of the recipient.   

B.   Forfeiture Amount.

     11.  We  conclude that  US Notary  apparently willfully  or 
repeatedly  violated the  Act  and  the Commission's  rules  and 
orders  by using  a telephone  facsimile  machine, computer,  or 
other  device to  send unsolicited  advertisements to  telephone 
facsimile  machines.  US  Notary apparently  did  not cease  its 
unlawful  conduct  even  after the  Commission  staff  issued  a 
citation warning  that it was  engaging in unlawful conduct  and 
could be  subject to monetary  forfeitures and subsequently  met 
with US Notary to discuss its  unlawful conduct.  Accordingly, a 
proposed  forfeiture is  warranted  against  US Notary  for  its 
apparent willful  or repeated violations  of section 227 of  the 
Act  and of  the  Commission's rules  and orders  regarding  the 
faxing of unsolicited advertisements. 

     12.  Section 503(b)  of the  Act authorizes the  Commission 
to assess  a forfeiture of up  to $11,000 for each  violation of 
the  Act or  of any  rule, regulation,  or order  issued by  the 
Commission  under  the Act  by  a  non-common carrier  or  other 
entity not specifically designated in section  503 of the Act.20  
In exercising such authority, we are to  take into account ``the 
nature,  circumstances, extent,  and  gravity of  the  violation 
and, with  respect to the  violator, the degree of  culpability, 
any history  of prior offenses, ability  to pay, and such  other 
matters as justice may require.''21

     13.  Although the Commission's Forfeiture  Policy Statement 
does not  establish a base  forfeiture amount for violating  the 
prohibition  on using  a  telephone  facsimile machine  to  send 
unsolicited  advertisements,   we  have  previously   considered 
$4,500  per unsolicited  facsimile  to  be an  appropriate  base 
amount.22  We apply that base amount to  each of the 20 apparent 
violations here.   This results in  a total proposed  forfeiture 
of  $90,000.  US  Notary shall  have the  opportunity to  submit 
evidence and arguments  in response to this NAL to show  that no 
forfeiture should be  imposed or that some lesser  amount should 
be assessed.23


           III.      CONCLUSION AND ORDERING CLAUSES

     14.  We have determined that US  Notary apparently violated 
section 227 of the Act and the  Commission's rules and orders by 
using a telephone  facsimile machine, computer, or  other device 
to  send   20  unsolicited   advertisements  to  the   consumers 
identified above.  We have further determined  that US Notary is 
apparently liable for forfeiture in the amount of $90,000. 

     15.  Accordingly,  IT  IS  ORDERED,   pursuant  to  section 
503(b)(5) of  the Act,  as amended, 47  U.S.C.  503(b)(5),  and 
section 1.80 of  the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R.   1.80, that 
US Notary, Inc. IS HEREBY NOTIFIED of  an Apparent Liability for 
Forfeiture  in the  amount of  $90,000 for  willful or  repeated 
violations  of section  227(b)(1)(C)  of the  Act, 47  U.S.C.   
227(b)(1)(C),  sections 64.1200(a)(3) and  64.1200(f)(5) of  the 
Commission's rules,  47 C.F.R.  64.1200(a)(3),  64.1200(f)(5), 
and the related orders described in the paragraphs above.

     16.  IT  IS FURTHER ORDERED,  pursuant to  section 1.80  of 
the Commission's  rules, 47  C.F.R.   1.80, that within  thirty 
(30) days of  the release of this Notice, US Notary,  Inc. SHALL 
PAY the full  amount of the proposed forfeiture24 OR  SHALL FILE 
a response  showing why  the proposed  forfeiture should not  be 
imposed or should be reduced.

     17.  IT IS  FURTHER ORDERED that a  copy of this Notice  of 
Apparent  Liability for Forfeiture  SHALL BE  SENT by  certified 
mail  to  Bruce Johnson,  Owner,  US  Notary, Inc.,  1033  Vista 
Sierra Dr., El Cajon, California.

                         FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION


                         Magalie Roman Salas
                                                            
Secretary
_________________________

1    US Notary, Inc. is headquartered at 1033 Vista Sierra Dr, 
El Cajon, California.  According to Dun & Bradstreet Business 
Information Report, US Notary began operations in 1998 and 
provides schooling or educational services, specializing in 
educational services on notary law.  The owner of US Notary is 
Bruce Johnson.  US Notary employs 8 people, including its 
owner.  See Dun & Bradstreet Business Information Report, April 
7, 2000.

2    See 47 U.S.C.  227; 47 C.F.R.  64.1200(a)(3); see also 
Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone Consumer 
Protection Act of 1991, Report and Order, 7 FCC Rcd 8752, 8779, 
 54  (1995) (TCPA Report and Order) (stating that Section 227 
of the Act prohibits the use of telephone facsimile machines to 
send unsolicited advertisements).   

3    47 U.S.C.  503(b)(1).  The Commission has the authority 
under this section of the Act to assess a forfeiture against 
any person who has ``willfully or repeatedly failed to comply 
with any of the provisions of this Act or of any rule, 
regulation, or order issued by the Commission under this Act . 
. ..''  See also 47 U.S.C.  503(b)(5) (stating that the 
Commission has the authority under this section of the Act to 
assess a forfeiture penalty against any person who is not a 
common carrier so long as (A) such person is first issued a 
citation of the violation charged; (B) is given a reasonable 
opportunity for a personal interview with an official of the 
Commission, at the field office of the Commission nearest to 
the person's place of resident; and (C) subsequently engages in 
conduct of the type described in the citation).  

4    See 47 U.S.C.  503(b)(5) (authorizing the Commission to 
issue citations to non-common carriers for violations of the 
Act or of the Commission's rules and orders).     

5    The following consumer letters requesting Commission 
action were attached to the citation: (1) Linda Lehr, Request 
for Commission Action (February 23, 1999) (stating that a 
number of unsolicited advertisements were received via 
facsimile from US Notary); (2) Diana C. Heard, Request for 
Commission Action  (June 7, 1999) (stating that she received 
facsimiles that contained unsolicited advertisements from US 
Notary); (3) George Kanaan, President of Sigma Marble and 
Granite, Inc. Request for Commission Action (June 7, 1999) 
(stating that he received a number of unsolicited faxes without 
his permission from US Notary); (4) David K. Zimmerman, Request 
for Commission Action (May 19, 1998) (stating that  he received 
an unsolicited advertisement via facsimile from US Notary); and 
(5) Lynne C. Goldsand, Greenhaven Associates, Inc., Request for 
Commission Action, (June 17, 1999) (stating that she received 
two unsolicited advertisements via facsimile from US Notary).

6    See 47 U.S.C.  227; 47 C.F.R.  64.1200(a)(3).

7    See (1) William Pratt, Request for Commission Action 
(April 1, 2000) (stating that he received 1 unsolicited 
facsimile advertisements from US Notary in April 2000); (2) 
Roger Arrick, Owner of Arrick Robotics, Request for Commission 
Action (December 17, 1999, February 28, 2000, April 2000) 
(stating that he received 3 unsolicited advertisements by fax 
from US Notary in December 1999, March 2000 and on April 28, 
2000); (3) Joe Shields, Engineering Specialist, Lockheed 
Martin/Johnson Space Center, Request for Commission Action ( 
December 12, 1999, December 13, 1999, October 16, 1999, October 
21, 1999, March 16, 2000) (stating that US Notary used a 
telephone facsimile machine to send 12 unsolicited 
advertisements to Johnson Space Center's fax machine in October 
and December 1999, and again in February and March 2000); (4) 
C. Brad Schuelke, Assistant Attorney General, Texas Attorney 
General's Office, Request for Commission Action (May 18, 2000) 
(stating that 2  unsolicited advertisements were faxed to the 
Texas Attorney General's Office); (5) David Guenthrer, The Lone 
Star Report, via the Texas Attorney General's Office, Request 
for Commission Action (May 18, 2000) (stating that he received 
1 unsolicited advertisement by fax from US Notary); and (6) 
Bernice Tesmer, via the Texas Attorney General's Office, 
Request for Commission Action (May 18, 2000) (stating that she 
received 1 unsolicited advertisement by fax from US Notary).  A 
letter was also received from the National Notary Association 
(NNC) regarding unsolicited advertisements faxed by US Notary 
to several NNC members.  This letter, however, will not be used 
in assessing the forfeiture amount for US Notary because NNC's 
members did not file complaints. 

8    We note that evidence of additional instances of unlawful 
conduct by US Notary may form the basis of subsequent 
enforcement action.  

9    See Declaration of Roger Arrick, owner of Arrick Robotics.

10   Id.

11   See Declaration of Joe Shields, Engineering Specialist, 
Lockheed Martin/Johnson Space Center.

12   See Declaration of William Pratt.

13   See supra note 7 (listing the consumer letters that form 
the basis for this NAL).

14   See C. Brad Schuelke, Assistant Attorney General, Texas 
Attorney General's Office, Request for Commission Action (May 
18, 2000).

15   47 U.S.C.  227(b)(1)(C).  Section 227 defines a telephone 
facsimile machine as ``equipment which has the capacity (A) to 
transcribe text or images, or both, from paper into an 
electronic signal and to transmit that signal over a regular 
telephone line, or (B) 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)(4).  This blanket prohibition applies to all 
unsolicited advertisements transmitted to any telephone 
facsimile machine, whether business or residential.

16   47 C.F.R.  64.1200(f)(5).

17   See Rules and Regulations Implementing the Telephone 
Consumer Protection Act of 1991, Memorandum Opinion and Order, 
10 FCC Rcd 12391, 12408,  37 (1995) (TCPA Memorandum Opinion 
and Order).

18   Id.

19   An unsolicited advertisement is ``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.'' 47 U.S.C.  
227(a)(4); 47 C.F.R.  64.1200(f)(5).

20   Section 503(b)(2)(C) provides for forfeitures up to 
$10,000 for each violation by cases not covered by 
subparagraphs (A) or (B), which address forfeitures for 
violations by licensees and common carriers, among others.  See 
47 U.S.C.  503(b).  The Commission amended its rules by adding 
a new subsection to its monetary forfeiture provisions that 
incorporates by reference the inflation adjustment requirements 
contained in the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996, Pub. 
L. 104-134, Sec. 31001, 110 Stat. 1321, enacted on April 26, 
1996.  Thus, the maximum statutory forfeiture pursuant to 
section 503(b)(2)(C) increased from $10,000 to $11,000.  See 
Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Commission's Rules, 12 FCC Rcd 
1038 (1997). 

21   47 U.S.C.  503(b)(2)(D); Commission's Forfeiture Policy 
Statement and Amendment of Section 1.80 of the Rules to 
Incorporate the Forfeiture Guidelines, Report and Order, 12 FCC 
Rcd 17087, 17100-17101,  27 (1997), recon. denied, 15 FCC Rcd 
303 (1999) (Forfeiture Policy Statement).

22   See Get-Aways, Inc., Notice of Apparent Liability For 
Forfeiture, 15 FCC Rcd. 1805 (1999; Get-Aways, Inc, Forfeiture 
Order, FCC 00-67 (released March 2, 2000).

23   See 47 U.S.C.  503(b)(4)(C); 47 C.F.R.  1.80(f)(3).

24   The forfeiture amount should be paid by check or money 
order drawn to the order of the Federal Communications 
Commission.  Reference should be made on US Notary's, Inc.'s 
check or money order to ``NAL/Acct/ No. X3217-006.''  Such 
remittances must be mailed to Forfeiture Collection Section, 
Finance Branch, Federal Communications Commission, P.O. Box 
73482, Chicago, Illinois 60673-7482.