PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against several related Arizona and out-of-state telemarketing companies that allegedly defrauded thousands of consumers.
Eric Pugh, Betsy Valorose, Justin Journay, Rares Stelea, Emory Holley IV and Lisa Miller were named as defendants in the lawsuit. The defendants went by the names Financial Management Partners Inc. Key One Solutions, Key Tech Software Solutions LLC, First Secure Management, Elite Planning Group, 3Point14 Consultants LLC, Complete Financial Strategies LLC, Allied Corporation Connection, Purchase Power Solutions LLC and Proactive Planning Solutions.
Some of the companies allegedly used illegal prerecorded messages to initiate calls that offered interest rate reductions to consumers with high interest rates and large balances on credit cards. The businesses then allegedly failed to deliver on promises to negotiate lower rates in exchange for a $900 or higher payment.
"Many telemarketers use potentially deceptive tactics against consumers," Horne said. "These defendants run several businesses using methods designed to imply that the company has relationships that may be important to the targeted consumer, when none exist. For example, the defendants pretended to have relationships with consumers' credit card companies that would allow them to drastically reduce interest rates, but rates weren't lowered and all consumers ended up with was a superficial repayment plan and some financial education DVDs."
The defendants allegedly offered interest rate reductions to consumers using the prerecorded messages and were told the company could provide them with lower interest rates and a zero percent APR card to transfer their balances. Consumers were allegedly guaranteed a savings of $2,500 in interest and finance charges for a payment of $900 or more for the service. Consumers allegedly rarely received a low rate credit card or interest rate reduction, instead getting a computer generated payment plan. The plan simply showed that the consumers could save money if they made higher monthly payments to the highest interest rate credit cards, Horne claims.
Horne's office alleges that the defendants violated the Arizona Telephones Solicitations Act, the Arizona Credit Services Act and the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act. The lawsuit requests that the court bar the defendants from further telemarketing, require that the defendants provide restitution to the victims and fine the defendants up to $10,000 for each violation.
The Federal Trade Commission also entered into legal action against the defendants and provided assistance to the state of Arizona in the matter.
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