Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


UPDATE: The judge's written order is available here

Michigan defendants previously paid $1.2 million for similar scam

SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson won a court order today in his consumer protection lawsuit against Labor Law Poster Service and its Michigan-based owners, blocking the company from deceiving Washington businesses.

The company has illegally targeted thousands of Washington small businesses with a series of fraudulent schemes. The details of these schemes vary, but they all involve mass mailing deceptive solicitations to dupe business owners into purchasing workplace posters they are not obligated to buy. The letters are designed to imitate legitimate government communications.

Today, King County Superior Court Judge Sandra Widlan granted Ferguson’s request for a preliminary injunction, agreeing that Labor Law Poster’s mailers are deceptive and that Ferguson’s case has a “high likelihood of success on the merits.” The specifics of the decision will come in a written order in the coming days.

Ferguson’s lawsuit seeks full restitution, plus interest, to all Washingtonians harmed by this deceptive conduct. It also seeks civil penalties for every deceptive letter sent and civil penalties for each of the violations of the previous court orders. The case is scheduled for trial in January 2025.

“Small business owners work hard to follow the law and earn an honest living,” Ferguson said. “This is yet another win against a bad actor that repeatedly takes advantage of those hardworking Washingtonians and disregards any efforts to enforce the law. We will not stop fighting to protect Washington business owners from harmful scammers.”

According to Ferguson’s lawsuit, Labor Law Poster Service and its owners — brothers Joseph Fata, Thomas Fata and Steven Fata, and later Joseph’s son, Justin Fata — violated the state Consumer Protection Act more than 300,000 times over the course of at least eight years. It also asserts their conduct violated a 2016 permanent injunction and a 2008 resolution with the Attorney General’s Office, both of which prohibited the company from sending deceptive letters.

For years, the Fatas have treated all adverse legal actions as the cost of doing business, even after paying more than $1.2 million in civil penalties, restitution and attorneys’ fees from just one judgment. 

Assistant Attorneys General Zorba Leslie and Kelsey Burazin, Investigator Scott Henderson, Paralegal Mary Barber and Legal Assistant Ashley Totten are handling the case for Washington.

Ferguson’s lawsuit is part of the Small Business Protection Initiative, which has won tens of millions of dollars for Washington businesses that have been targeted by scams.

If you suspect you have been targeted by this or other scams, please contact the Attorney General’s Office. You can file a complaint online at atg.wa.gov/file-complaint or call the office toll-free at 1-800-551-4636.

Background on workplace requirements and posters scheme

Businesses with employees are legally required to display certain workplace posters about a variety of workers’ rights and entitlements, such as workplace safety requirements or the right to access disability leave.

Employers can download digital copies of these posters for free from many regulators and state agencies, such as the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, Washington Employment Security Department and the U.S. Department of Labor. Workplace posters are not required for businesses with no employees.

Labor Law Poster Service intentionally exploits these requirements for profit. They send deceptive letters that look like bills or invoices from a government agency. They mail the letters in envelopes with threatening language about legal consequences for not immediately purchasing the advertised product — a “Complete State & Federal Posting Requirement Set” — at a cost of $79.50 or more. These solicitations target small business owners, often newly registered small businesses, who may lack time and resources to thoroughly vet the legitimacy of the letters.

Together, these deceptive tactics leave business owners with the impression that buying and displaying Labor Law Poster Service’s product is required by law and they ultimately pay the fee to avoid any risk of legal ramifications.

Details of prior violations by Labor Law Poster Service owners

In 2008, the Attorney General’s Office investigated similar consumer protection violations by Labor Law Poster Service, formerly known as Mandatory Poster Agency. Mandatory Poster Agency, which was also run by the Fata brothers, entered into a legally enforceable agreement that it would provide full refunds to Washington businesses and stop any future unlawful conduct to avoid a penalty.

Mandatory Poster Agency did not stop. Between 2012 and 2013, the company sent envelopes marked “Important: Annual Minutes Requirement Statement” to roughly 80,000 Washington businesses. In a 2014 lawsuit, Ferguson asserted that more than 2,900 small businesses paid $125 each to prepare documents that looked like they came from the government. In March 2016, a King County judge ruled that Mandatory Poster Agency violated the Consumer Protection Act 79,354 times and ordered civil penalties and restitution of $1.15 million. The judgment included $793,540 in civil penalties and up to $362,625 in restitution for businesses harmed by the deceptive scheme. The company also paid the Attorney General’s Office $377,164 for attorneys’ fees.

In all, Mandatory Poster Agency and the Fata brothers paid more than $1.2 million as a result of that judgment.

Lawsuit asserts Fatas’ violations continue under new name

Once more, the Fatas did not stop their illegal activity. Under a new name, Labor Law Poster Service, they violated both the 2016 court order and the earlier resolution by engaging in the same deceptive practices.

Ferguson’s latest lawsuit asserts that Labor Law Poster Service mailed at least 325,750 deceptive letters to small businesses between 2016 and 2022, including 60,000 to 70,000 new solicitations each year. The lawsuit alleges the company made at least 1,654 sales to Washington businesses since 2016, totaling at least $141,228 in sales.

Labor Law Poster Service renewed its Washington business registration in October 2023, and before today’s ruling continued mailing illegal solicitations to businesses who previously purchased their posters.

Other enforcement actions against Labor Law Poster Service

Other states have filed lawsuits against Labor Law Poster Service for engaging in similar deceptive conduct across the country.

A lawsuit brought by the Tennessee attorney general is pending, and in 2017 Arizona won a $626,000 judgment against the company when it operated as Mandatory Poster Agency. In 2016, Labor Law Poster Service agreed to pay nearly $400,000 in penalties after violating a cease and desist order with the Delaware attorney general. In 2013, the Fata brothers, then operating as Mandatory Poster Agency, entered into a consent judgment with the State of Wisconsin after sending more than 72,000 deceptive mailers that required them to pay $340,000 in restitution and civil forfeitures.   

Combined, these recycled deceptive tactics can amount to millions of dollars in profit for these repeat offenders.



Washington’s Attorney General serves the people and the state of Washington. As the state’s largest law firm, the Attorney General’s Office provides legal representation to every state agency, board, and commission in Washington. Additionally, the Office serves the people directly by enforcing consumer protection, civil rights, and environmental protection laws. The Office also prosecutes elder abuse, Medicaid fraud, and handles sexually violent predator cases in 38 of Washington’s 39 counties. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.

Media Contact:

Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.aho@atg.wa.gov

General contacts: Click here