WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Nov. 8 that a federal court has temporarily halted an office supply scam that bilked small businesses and non-profits out of thousands of dollars.

According to allegations, the New-York based scheme would offer “free” samples of cleaning products and other office products to small business and non-profits. The defendants would then purportedly send an invoice for the product to the company and list an employee of the company on the invoice. Companies often fell for this tactic, believing the employee on the invoice had ordered the product.

The defendants are A1 Janitorial Supply Corp., also doing business as A One Janitorial, Century Manufacturing Corp., also d/b/a A-1 Janitorial Supply, Commercial Maintenance Chemical Corp., also doing business as CMC, Global Direct Resources Inc., also doing business as A-1 Janitorial, Century Manufacturing, Commercial Maintenance Chemical, and Target Supplies, Eric Sternberg; and Matthew Sternberg.

The FTC charged these defendants with violations of the FTC Act, the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and the Unordered Merchandise Statute.

The FTC voted 2-0 to approve the complaint. On Nov. 1, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division entered a temporary restraining order against the defendants.

The Office of the Illinois Attorney General, the Office of the Kansas Attorney General, and the Better Business Bureaus of Chicago and Northern Illinois, Manitoba and North West Ontario, New Jersey and Metropolitan New York have assisted in the case.

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