WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Aug. 31 that the operators of a telemarketing scheme that allegedly pitched phony business accounts and grant opportunities will settle and agree to be banned from those lines of business.

The defendants - who allegedly targeted seniors, veterans and debt-laden consumers - include Carl E. Morris, Jr., Stephanie A. Bateluna, Stacey Vela and Paramount Business Services LLC.  They charged consumers hundreds or thousands of dollars yet did not create the retail websites linking to Amazon.com that they promised they would, according to the FTC.

The FTC voted 2-0 to approve the stipulated final orders. The orders against Bateluna, Vela and paramount were entered Aug. 11 and the order against Morris on Aug. 29, both by the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

Each order imposes a judgment of more than $11.8 million. The order against Bateluna, Vela and Paramount will be partially suspended once the defendants surrender their assets.

The FTC noted the support of the Phoenix Police Department and Office of the Attorney General of Arizona for assisting in the matter.

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