Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist announced the settlement of a case brought against 16 South Florida office supply companies and five individuals accused of deceptive business practices.
Arthur R. Snow, Dean Snow, Helen Lavin, Phyllis H. Caccioppo and Lisa A. Landress, acting individually and on behalf of several Florida companies, allegedly employed telemarketers to contact private schools and non-profit organizations in order to carry out a scam in which they sold office supplies well above market price.
The telemarketers claimed to be representatives of a local office supply firm going out of business or moving due to the illness of a relative. The callers reportedly offered to sell supplies at or below cost. After the supplies were delivered, however, the victims were reportedly invoiced for sums substantially greater than those quoted – typically more than triple the standard retail price.
“Customers were offered something that, in the end, was too good to be true,” said Crist. “The good news is that this operation is now out of business and there are funds to provide restitution to those who were victimized.”
The companies involved in the settlement are:
American Financial Collection Co.
A&L Supply Co.
Imperial Business Products
Tropical Business Products
Spectrum Business Products, Inc.
Artis & Co.
Summit Ridge, Inc.
L.T. Thompson & Company, Inc.
M.D. Collins, Inc.
Random Stationers, Inc.
M.C. Collins, Inc.
Arthur & Diane Snow Family Partnership
The settlement, known as a Consent Judgment, calls for establishment of a fund totaling $350,000 to cover costs and fees, as well as victim restitution. The amount of restitution will be determined according to the terms of the Consent Judgment. Those who may have been victimized by doing business with the companies involved should contact:
Office of the Attorney General
Economic Crimes Division
110 SE 6th Street, 10th Floor
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. 33301
Supporting paperwork, such as invoices or cancelled checks, should be included. Envelopes should be marked: Office Supply Restitution Request. Deadline for submission is May 4, 2004.
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