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Catholic Pilgrimage Center Tours and Its Owner Ordered To Pay Over $420,000 For Violating Fair Business Practices Act

PRESS ADVISORY

Catholic Pilgrimage Center Tours and Its Owner Ordered To Pay Over $420,000 For Violating Fair Business Practices Act

February 2, 2010

***Edited June 21, 2010 Regarding Post-Suit Claims***

After failing to respond to a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Thurbert Baker alleging violations of the Fair Business Practices Act, CPC Tours, Inc., d/b/a Catholic Pilgrimage Center Tours, Inc. and its principal, Manfred Reinhard, were ordered today by the Cobb County Superior Court to pay $181,450.07 in restitution to consumers harmed by its actions and $240,000.00 in civil restitution.  Judge S. Lark Ingram found that the defendants were in default for failing to respond to the October 29, 2009 lawsuit, and further found that the State had proven that customers of the defendants had been financially harmed by the defendants' actions.

"Today's court order is the first step in making whole the consumers harmed by the deceptive business practices of Manfred Reinhard and Catholic Pilgrimage Center Tours," said Attorney General Baker.  He went on to add that "[m]y office will make collecting this judgment for consumers a top priority, and we will use the court's permanent injuction against the defendants to protect Georgians from further victimization by Reinhard or his companies."

Joe Doyle, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumers said, "Although Mr. Reinhardt is no longer in Georgia, we intend to proceed aggressively to collect on this judgment."

Judge Ingram agreed to Attorney General Baker's request that CPC Tours, Inc., d/b/a Catholic Pilgrimage Center Tours, Inc. and its owner, Manfred Reinhard should be permanently barred from making deceptive claims, soliciting persons for tours that are different from what is advertised, misrepresenting their refund policies, and falsely implying that they have official Church approval.  In addition, while consumers had submitted claims of harm to the Office of Consumer Affairs totaling $131,134.20 before suit was filed, over $50,000 in additional claims for restitution came in after Attorney General Baker filed suit but prior to the court ruling on liability and damages.  The court agreed with Attorney General Baker's argument that restitution for the additional $50,000.00 in claims should be ordered, but no additional post-suit claims were awarded by the court beyond the initial $131,134.20 in pre-suit claims and the additional $50,000.00 in post-suit, pre-judgment claims.