PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced a more than $10 million judgment on Wednesday against a group of Arizona telemarketers that allegedly engaged in fraudulent telemarketing of work-at-home business opportunities around the country.
Christopher Lewallen, EWeb Financial LLC, Freedom Billing LLC, Solid Tech Solutions LLC and Solid Ad Solutions LLC allegedly committed multiple violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act and the Arizona Telephone Solicitations Act. In a default hearing, a Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner ruled that the defendants must pay $8,157,382 in restitution to defrauded consumers and $2,350,000 in civil penalties, along with attorney fees and costs.
"Since 2008, these defendants have preyed on people facing desperate financial problems, many of them elderly, by cynically offering a program that promised to help earn extra income," Horne said. "Defendants were the only ones who profited from the 'web-malls' sold to consumers who were promised they would earn big commissions through online sales. Arizona consumers need to be extremely cautious about purchasing work-at-home business opportunities, especially over the phone."
The defendants allegedly targeted consumers who previously bought home-based business opportunities or filled out an information request regarding them. The defendants allegedly offered to provide consumers with a web-mall where they could earn commissions on products, a business coaching program to show consumers how to run a successful business and a high rate of income for the price of $99 to $499 in up-front costs.
After consumers purchased the products, the companies allegedly used high pressure sales techniques to sell other services such as advertising and web traffic for thousands of additional dollars.
No consumer made a profit or commissions that came close to the amount of money invested.