Consumer Protection Watch: AG Horne takes action against scammers

PHOENIX (Friday, July 13, 2012) -- Attorney General Tom Horne has obtained consent judgments against two telemarketing/ business opportunity scams operating in Arizona; Higher Impact, LLC and Global Web Exchange, LLC. 

“Business opportunity scams are proliferating and my office works very diligently to prosecute these cases,” Horne said. “It is important that all consumers, especially seniors, be aware of these schemes and if they believe they have been victimized, they should contact my office immediately” 

In State of Arizona v. Higher Impact, LLC, the court-approved Consent Judgment found Defendants Higher Impact, Inc., Adrien Pirtle and Stephanie N. Davis violated the Consumer Fraud Act by misrepresenting the effectiveness of the marketing services and falsely claiming that consumers would realize increased earnings through those services. The online advertising packages sold by the defendants ranged in price from $1,000 to $15,000. Defendants also failed to register with the Arizona Secretary of State and maintain a bond with the Arizona Treasurer’s Office as required under the Arizona Telephone Solicitation Statute. 

The Consent Judgment in State of Arizona v. Global Web Exchange, LLC, found that Defendants Global Web Exchange, LLC, Stacia Best and Danett Brown initiated telephone calls to consumers to sell web-based businesses and advertising. The defendants misrepresented the amount of commissions that consumers would earn through their business. The cost of the defendants’ advertising packages typically ranged from $1,000 to $10,000. Defendants also were found to have violated the Arizona Telephone Solicitation State by failing to comply with the registration and bonding requirements of the statute. 

The Consent Judgments secure more than $300,000 for restitution to the victims of these scams, the majority of which are senior citizens. Defendants also were also assessed civil penalties totaling more than $350,000. 

The number of these types of business opportunity scams has increased during the past several years. To protect consumers from this type of fraud, Attorney General Horne initiated legislation to regulate business opportunities. The bill was sponsored by Representative Kate Brophy-McGee. The new law requires that these types of business give potential buyers sufficient information to make an informed decision and the chance to review the information before actually purchasing. 

Consumers who believe they were defrauded by a business opportunity seller or are contacted by a company that has not complied with the new law should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. To file a consumer complaint, please contact the Arizona Attorney General’s Office Consumer Information & Complaints Unit at (602) 542-5763 / (520)628-6504