FTC Wins Court Order Against Fraudulent "Recovery Room" Telemarketers

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A federal district court in Las Vegas, Nevada, has permanently banned a Las Vegas telemarketer and two individuals from engaging in any prize-promotion telemarketing activity or recovery service. The judge issued the order after Fraud Action Network, Inc. (FANS), its president, Michael Starrion and office manager, Rena Warden failed to answer Federal Trade Commission charges. The FTC had alleged that the defendants, for an advance fee, would purportedly "recover" or otherwise assist consumers in obtaining the refund of monies paid in previous telemarketing transactions.

The judge in the case also entered judgment against the defendants for $378,915.04 for consumer redress, although the FTC said it is unclear what, if any, of that amount can be collected because of the defendants’ financial condition.

In March 1996, the Commission filed charges against FANS, Starrion and Warden, alleging that the defendants misrepresented that through their recovery services, consumers would recover all or a substantial portion of the money that was lost in previous telemarketing schemes; a substantial number of former customers have recovered all or a substantial portion of the money they lost in previous telemarketing schemes; and consumers would recover those losses within six weeks to three months. In addition, the FTC alleged that the defendants violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule by requesting or receiving payment for recovery services before delivery. This is the FTC's first case challenging violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rule by a so-called recovery service.

On July 30, 1996, Judge Lloyd D. George of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, in Las Vegas, entered the default judgment and permanent injunction against FANS, Starrion and Warden.

Copies of the default judgment, as well as other documents associated with this case, are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest FTC news as it is announced, call the FTC's NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web Site at: http://www.ftc.gov

(Civil Action No. CV-S-96-191-LDG (RJJ)

(FTC File No. X960023)

Contact Information

Media Contact:
Howard Shapiro
Office of Public Affairs
Staff Contact:
Ralph E. Stone or Jerome M. Steiner, Jr.
San Francisco Regional Office
901 Market Street, Suite 570
San Francisco, California 94103
(415) 356-5270