The Federal Trade Commission is honoring Jennifer Arbittier Williams, an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, with its fifth Annual Criminal Liaison Award for her work to combat consumer fraud. The award is presented annually to a criminal law enforcer who demonstrates a commitment to consumer protection in partnership with the FTC.
In an awards ceremony today in Washington, DC, the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, David Vladeck, said “The FTC salutes criminal prosecutors like Jennifer Arbittier Williams whose work showcases the value of multi-agency coordination to bring justice to the worst consumer fraud villains.”
Ms. Williams was the lead prosecutor in a case against Neal Saferstein and his cohorts. The FTC previously took action against Saferstein alleging that he ran a massive telephone cramming operation in which he charged consumers for website services they neither approved nor wanted. According to the FTC, the scam inflicted at least $75 million in losses on more than 350,000 victims. Although the Commission obtained an order prohibiting Saferstein from committing future violations, he continued his illegal activity, for which the FTC sought and won a civil contempt judgment against him.
The persistent conduct and extensive consumer harm made it an ideal case for a criminal referral. In coordination with the FTC, which assisted in the criminal prosecution, as well as the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Internal Revenue Service, Ms. Williams developed a criminal case against Saferstein that ultimately led to a guilty plea. He was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Two other defendants also pleaded guilty to various criminal charges arising from the scam.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.