Bryan Cohen Dec. 13, 2012, 7:10pm

SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) - Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit Monday against a Florida company that allegedly sent tens of thousands of unauthorized texts offering payday loans to Washington residents.

McKenna's office alleges that Jonathan Charles Diaz, Juan Carlos Diaz and the Orlando-based Dinav Holdings Inc. violated the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Washington Consumer Protection Act and the Washington Commercial Electronic Mail Act. The case is the first filed by a state attorney general's office against text message spammers.

"Consumers pay for text messaging in order to stay in touch with family, friends and business contacts - not to receive spam that's as illegal as it is annoying," McKenna said. "This lawsuit is a reminder to spammers that there are consequences for breaking the law."

Under federal law, it is illegal to make calls by employing an automated dialing system, which Dinav Holding allegedly used in the May text messaging incident, without first getting permission from the recipients. CEMA prohibits commercial text messages to mobile phones and a CEMA violation represents an automatic CPA violation.

Additionally, because many phone subscribers have plans that charge for text messages, unauthorized texts could lead consumers to incur charges upon receiving spam text messages.

The texts from Dinav Holding contained a link to a web page. The web page said that the visitors were matched with the best loan providers in Washington. McKenna alleges that the payday loan providers listed on the site are not licensed to make payday loans in the state.

The lawsuit, filed in United States District Court in Western Washington, seeks penalties of $500 per violation of the TCPA and CEMA, up to $2,000 per violation in civil penalties, and attorney fees and costs.

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