Skip to comments.3 Telemarketing Execs Charged in $75 Million Fraud Probe
Posted on 09/14/2007 5:13:26 PM PDT by Calpernia
Three men who ran a now-defunct telemarketing company were charged Friday in an alleged $75 million scam to defraud customers and potential clients into paying for Internet-related services without their consent.
GoInternet.net Inc. president and chief executive officer Tyrone Barr, vice president Neal Saferstein and chief information officer Billy Light were charged in a 26-count federal indictment for allegedly scamming customers from March 2001 to April 2004.
GoInternet telemarketers would dupe potential customers into receiving an information packet, which was designed to look like junk mail so that it would be thrown away, authorities said.
Investigators said that receiving the packets triggered a $29.95 monthly charge on the companies' telephone bills unless they called to cancel. Many companies paid because they didn't notice it, U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan said.
In other cases, GoInternet would create Web sites and ads for companies without the companies' consent and then charge them for the services, investigators allege.
``By merely answering their telephone, people fell victim to this scam and these men picked their pockets,'' Meehan said.
GoInternet, which was in business from 1997 to 2004, already had been the target of a civil suit by the Federal Trade Commission and was accused by several states of violating do-not-call lists.
At its peak, it employed 1,000 telemarketers in three downtown locations where workers cold-called small businesses, churches and individuals nationwide offering to create and host Web sites or advertising for the organizations.
Saferstein, 34, of Mount Laurel, N.J., and Barr, 33, of Philadelphia, are charged with multiple fraud counts. Saferstein and Light, 39, of Voorhees, N.J., also are charged with conspiring to commit perjury.
Saferstein is also charged with failing to declare $1.7 million in unreported income between 2001 and 2004, and failing to pay more than $2.8 million in payroll taxes, officials said.
It wasn't clear if three men had attorneys.
IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS OF PHILADELPHIA COUNTY
FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
CIVIL TRIAL DIVISION
GOINTERNET.NET, INC. et al.,
: MARCH TERM, 2003
: No. 3348
: Commerce Program
SBC COMMUNICATIONS, INC., et al., :
: Control No. 090038
O R D E R
AND NOW, this 17th day of December, 2003, upon consideration of the Preliminary Objections of defendant, SBC Communications, Inc., to the Amended Complaint, the response in opposition, the respective memoranda, all other matters of record, and in accord with the contemporaneous Opinion, it is ORDERED that said Preliminary Objections are Sustained as follows:
1) Counts I, II, IV, V, and VIII of plaintiffs Amended Complaint are dismissed because this court lacks personal jurisdiction over SBC Communications, Inc. with respect to those claims;
2) Count III (breach of contract) and the negligent misrepresentation claim in Count VI are dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
More at PDF
Looks like another dismissal:
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
SAN FRANCISCO DIVISION
TASH HEPTING, GREGORY HICKS,
CAROLYN JEWEL and ERIK KNUTZEN
on Behalf of Themselves and All Others
AT&T CORP., AT&T INC. and DOES 1-20,
MOTION OF DEFENDANT
AT&T INC. TO DISMISS
[Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(2), 12(b)(6)
June 8, 2006
Courtroom: 6, 17th Floor
Hon. Vaughn R. Walker
1. Declaration of Starlene Meyerkord
2. Proposed order
Case 3:06-cv-00672-VRW Document 79 Filed 04/28/2006 Page 1 of 15
AT&T Inc.s Motion to Dismiss Amended Complaint
TABLE OF CONTENTS
NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO DISMISS.......................................
This is connected to telephone services too though. There are a large number of cases out there on this group. I’m curious as to why so many telecoms dismissed the charges over the years.
I wonder how much money hillary got from these guys...
If you find out, go to this thread:
You could win some bucks!
Apparently, after getting flimsy consent from some hapless person who answered a phone call and agreed to look at a "custom prepared web site just for that business", they charged that victim via their phone bill. This seems a tad strange to me, that anyone could tap my money via my phone bill without my informed consent. Oh well.
By Joris Evers, IDG News Service
AUGUST 13, 2003
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed suit against a company that the agency charges is hawking Web presence over the phone and then charging its targets on their phone bill without their authorization.
The company, Mercury Marketing, now doing business as GoInternet.net, based in Philadelphia, calls small businesses, offers a Web page or an advertisement on the Internet and tells them they are legally obligated to pay for the services, the FTC said in a statement yesterday. Charges of $29.95 per month appear on customers' phone bills, according to the FTC.
They call businesses and get someone to agree to a 15-day trial offer to look at a Web site they designed for that business. Many times, unbeknownst to that business, the look at the site results in a $29.95 addition to the monthly telephone bill, FTC investigator Dave Plottner said.
The charges on the phone bill often show up as MIS Int Serv, which people often mistake for Internet access charges, Plottner said.
The alleged scam has been going on since the late 1990s and targets businesses all across the U.S. The FTC has received over 850 complaints about Mercury and its various operating names, Plottner said. In a survey of 417 customers randomly pulled from a customer list obtained from Mercury, the FTC found only one person who said he had agreed to hire Mercury to develop and maintain a Web page, he said.
In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the FTC has asked the court for a hearing and an order to halt the illegal billing practices and freeze GoInternet.net's assets pending a ruling on the charges, according to the FTC statement. The suit also names GoInternet.net CEO Neal Saferstein.
Saferstein and GoInternet.net under its previous name Mercury Marketing settled similar charges with the FTC in March 2001. The agency charges that Saferstein and his company are violating that settlement and that the scam has not only continued, but worsened.
The defendants are engaged in a systematic and widespread effort to defraud consumers, the FTC said.
Mercury has already been sued for unauthorized billing by the attorneys general of North Carolina, Illinois, Arkansas and Michigan and by the Montana Public Utilities Commission, an FTC spokeswoman said.
The alleged scam by Mercury isn't unique. Other companies use telemarketers to sell listings in online business directories and Web pages, among other services, and charge their unwitting targets via the telephone bill.
Besides GoInternet.net, Mercury Marketing also operates and bills under the names Mercury Internet Services, Mercury Communications, MIS, Mercury Internet Services Wireless, Venus Voice Mail and Mercury Technologies, the FTC said.
GoInternet.net didn't return calls seeking comment.
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