Drug 'discount card' defrauded seniors, FTC says
Feds say the telemarketing operation, which is being shut down, targeted seniors and pretended to be connected with Medicare, Social Security or health insurers.
A scam that targeted seniors all over the country -- duping them into paying to be part of a medical discount program by claiming affiliations with Medicare, Social Security or health insurers -- is being shut down, the Federal Trade Commission said Monday.
The scam, whose operators are in the U.S. and Canada, involved a Montreal-based telemarketing operation whose goal was to get seniors' bank account information and then start withdrawing money.
Consumers often received nothing in return, or a discount card that could be obtained for free from a variety of websites.
The FTC said the cards provided no value to anyone who had any other health insurance coverage.
"This scam, which targeted and deceived our nation’s seniors, is as cynical and wanton as they come," said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. "We look forward to bringing this operation to a halt and working to get relief for the victims."
The FTC filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Chicago asking that the operation be shut down and consumers who lost money be compensated. A judge issued a temporary restraining order at the government's request. The order froze the defendants' assets and, for now, stopped the scam. The FTC alleged the sales pitches violated federal telemarketing laws and were deceptive.
The FTC said the scam involved having the telemarketers in Canada get the consumers' bank account information and then relay it to those in the U.S. who were part of the scheme. They, in turn, would use a process called a "demand draft" and would draw about $300 from the victim's bank account.
U.S. defendants in the case include AFD Advisors, LLC, of Wisconsin (aka AFD Medical Advisors); AMG Associates, LLC, of Delaware (aka AMG Medical and AMG Medical Associates; Aaron F. Dupont, individually and as an officer of AFD Advisors and AMG Associates; CAL Consulting, LLC, of Georgia (aka Clinacall); Charles A. Lamborn, III, individually and as an officer of CAL Consulting; and Park 295 Corp, of New York.
Canadian defendants are 9262-2182 Quebec Inc; Stephanie Scebba, individually and as an officer of 9262-2182 Quebec Inc.; 9210-7838 Quebec Inc; and Fawaz Sebal, also known as Frank Sebag, individually and as an officer of 9210-7838 Quebec Inc.
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