TALLAHASSEE, FL- Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced his office
has launched investigations into two companies over allegations they
offered free emergency response training to consumers, but then withheld
the certifications for various reasons. Hazardous Waste Operations and
Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) training is required by anyone who
is exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances while on the
job, including those hired to assist with the Deepwater Horizon cleanup
“When disasters strike, fraud follows closely behind, and my office will
remain vigilant in our consumer protection actions,” said Attorney General
McCollum. “Consumers who have any complaints about fraud or scams related
to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill should report to my office
According to complaints, Clearwater-based Able Body Labor and Panama
City-based Southern Cat, Inc., both advertised the HAZWOPER training as
free but at the end of the training the companies withheld the
certifications. Additionally, some of the complaints allege that at the
end of the course, consumers had to pay $150 to $450 in order to receive
Since the investigation began, Able Body Labor has changed its disclosure
procedures and is fully cooperating with the Attorney General’s Office.
Southern Cat, Inc. was recently served with an investigative subpoena
seeking documents to determine whether or not violations of the Florida
statutes have occurred. Both investigations are ongoing.
The Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division is continuing to
investigate all oil spill-related complaints involving potential
violations of the Florida statutes and is working closely with local law
enforcement and Better Business Bureau offices throughout the state on
these issues. Additional investigations will be initiated as necessary to
ensure consumers are protected from unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Complaints can be reported to the Attorney General’s fraud hotline at
1-866-766-9226 or online at http://www.myfloridalegal.com.
Contact: Sandi Copes