Member Accuses Former Washington, DC, Club of Fraud

Woman says the operators of One World Fitness opened lines of credit in her name and drew funds from them without her knowledge or approval.

A woman is pursuing a lawsuit that accuses operators of a former fitness club in Washington, DC, of fraudulently establishing lines of credit in customers’ names and billing against the lines of credit without customers’ knowledge or approval. The suit also contends that the clubs' banks wrongfully allowed the club to open the lines of credit.

The class-action suit against One World Fitness, Washington, DC, and its owners was filed in the District of Columbia district court in 2014, but has since been moved to U.S. District Court. Last week, a judge ordered parties in the suit to submit to discovery so he can rule on whether the suit should remain in federal court or be sent back to the local DC court.

Valerie McMullen, who brought the suit on behalf of herself and others who have been similarly affected, contends that after she joined One World Fitness in 2010, the owners—Wayne Bullen and Karim Steward—opened lines of credit in her name and charged her $8,500 against the line of credit for services never provided.

Also named as defendants in the suit are Synchrony Bank and JPMorgan Chase & Co. McMullen contends that those financial institutions issued the lines of credit “without having received any documentation that [McMullen] authorized the lines of credit and/or the charges.” The suit also asserts that the banks processed payment against the lines of credit without any authorization from McMullen, and when notified of the alleged fraudulent activities, took no corrective action.

Representatives of One World Fitness could not be reached for comment. Phone numbers for the club have been disconnected. Brendan Klaproth, McMullen's attorney, said he believed the club was no longer operating.

McMullen is seeking to have the lawsuit returned to the local court in the District of Columbia. U.S. District Judge John D. Bates has ordered discovery to gather more information about members of the affected class to determine if the suit should be heard in the local court system.

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