The Federal Trade Commission today announced that the last of its eight enforcement actions undertaken as part of "Project Roadblock" has been resolved through court action.
U.S. District Judge Joan A. Lenard, in Miami, Florida, has issued final judgments and permanent injunctions against Michael A. Saffer and other defendants. Under the terms of the order, Saffer is permanently barred from engaging in telemarketing investment opportunities and from assisting others in telemarketing unless he first obtains a $2,800,000 performance bond. The other defendants must obtain $100,000 performance bonds. In addition, the final orders against Saffer and the other defendants include $2.8 million judgments; although FTC officials have, until now, not identified any assets the defendants may use to pay their judgments.
Announced in 1996, "Project Roadblock" was a coordinated state-federal campaign that involved 85 actions targeting high-pressure telemarketing operations peddling over a quarter of a billion dollars of the new generation of investment swindles, including Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-awarded paging licenses and pay-per-call "900" number partnerships.
In its January 1996 complaint, the FTC alleged that North East Telecommunications, Ltd., Tannen Advertising, Inc., Strategies Telecom, Inc., Mark Goldstein, Anthony Vandeputte, Dilraj Mathauda and Daniel Coutinho falsely represented that consumers were likely to earn substantial profit through leasing, transferring or selling FCC paging licenses and that such investments were a relatively low risk or excellent investment opportunity likely to generate substantial profits. In addition, the complaint charged that the defendants falsely represented that investors would derive income or profit from their FCC licenses without having to construct a paging system themselves. The complaint was amended in December 1996 to add Lance Kennedy and Saffer as defendants. The Court dismissed the complaint against Coutinho, without prejudice, for failure to serve him with the complaint and summons.
NOTE: The final judgment and permanent injunction against Saffer were filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami on May 26, 1998. The final judgments and permanent injunctions against the other defendants were filed on January 28, 1998.
Copies of the 1996 complaints and press releases about "Project Roadblock" are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and copies of the 1998 final judgments and permanent injunctions are available from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-FTC-HELP (202-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
(FTC File No. X960082)
(Civil Action No. 96-6081-CIV-LENARD)