WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission announced July 11 that it has obtained court orders against two Maryland-based office supply operations that allegedly tricked small businesses, nonprofit organizations and other consumers into buying overpriced supplies they never actually ordered.

The companies and their principals have been banned from the practice of telemarketing office and cleaning supplies.

One corporate defendant, Lightning X-Change, operated under various names that include Lighting X-Change, American Industrial Enterprises, LMS Lighting and Maintenance Solutions, Easton Chemical Supply and Werner International Enterprises. Vincent Stapleton, John Tharrington and Benjamin Cox were named as individual defendants.

The other corporate defendant, Standard Industries, operated its scheme under the names Midway Industries, Commercial Industries, National Lighting & Maintenance, State Power & Lighting, Standard Industries, Essex Industries, Johnson Distributing, Hansen Supply, Environmental Industries and Mid Atlantic Industries. Eric A. Epstein, Andrew J. Stafford, Alan M. Landsman and Brandon D. Riggs were named as individual defendants.

The FTC voted 3-0 to authorize the staff to file stipulated final orders with Stapleton and Lightning X-Change, and with Tharrington. The orders were entered in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland on Dec. 22, 2016. A 2-0 vote allowed the staff to file the final order with Cox and TBC companies, which was entered June 8.

The FTC voted 3-0 to authorize the staff to filed the stipulated final order with Epstein, Stafford, Landsman and Riggs. The Epstein, Landsman and Riggs orders were entered June 6, 2016, while the Stafford order was entered Aug. 4, 2016. The order against all the Standard Industries companies was entered Aug. 31, 2016.

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