Cell phones and suing telemarketers

Since I am involved in suing telemarketers, periodically I get friends and do-gooders informing me that my cell phone is going to get bombarded by telemarketing calls because the cell phone data bases are going to be released to telephone solicitors. According to the FTC, this has never been the case, would be illegal, and will never be the case. If your cell phone is your personal phone, you should be protected by the same laws as you home phone. The same way I can’t guarantee you that telemarketers will not break the law and bother you at home, I can only give to you the same advise on your cell numbers. There will be solicitors who will break the law; no way around it. But you will have the same rights to sue telemarketers’ asses for violations to your cell number.

Have you ever received one of these e-mails from a concerned party?:
“JUST A REMINDER…In a few weeks, cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale calls. YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS… To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888/382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years. PASS THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS…”
Another version claims:
“The Federal Trade Commission has set up a “do not call” list. It is called a cell phone registry. To be included on the “do not call” list, you must call from the number you wish to register.”

First of all, the five year rule has been replaced by the earlier of lifetime or you removing yourself from the “do not call registry”.

According to the FTC, here’s what you need to know about the National Do Not Call Registry program:
• FCC regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the industry, so most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers on their cell phones without their consent.
• The federal government does not maintain a national cell phone registry. Personal cell phone users have always been able to add their numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry — the same Registry consumers use to register their land lines — either online at www.donotcall.gov or by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the telephone number they wish to register. Registrations become effective within 31 days of signing up and are active until removed. There is no cut-off date or deadline for registrations.
• Business-to-business calls are not covered under the Registry.

Suing Telemarketers Chat Group

Suing Telemarketers Chat Group
If you are serious about suing telemarketers, you should check out this chat group and their guidelines at http://www.oklahoma-isp.net/posting-guidelines.html This chat group shares info about telemarketers that are common to people nationally. Whether your solicitor telemarketer is east coast, west coast, and in-state or out-of-state, the sharing on info how to sue telemarketers can make one’s life so much easier. These guys (and gals) do their due diligence, and stay on top of the tricks and manipulations by telemarketers.
We know there are companies that prefer to incorporate periodic judgment payouts in their business plans if it is still profitable. Telemarketers calculate whether it is cheaper or profitable to follow the laws. Let’s not be naive. With profit at it’s epicenter, it happens all the time. By sharing information on polluting companies, the wheel does not have to be re-invented over and over when you sue a telemarkter. Since illegal telemarketing is usually done in clumps and high volume, the workload is distributed in the chat group based upon desire and workloads. Your time can be freed up to collection of judgments instead of chasing serving of process.
Entry into the club is not automatic. Some info is required, and your application is screened. Once admitted, you receive group chats with info about everything from court opinions, attorney general actions, defendant whereabouts, defendant violations, and so forth. Some members are attorneys, most are not. But the common denominator is the forming of a national brain to counter the illegal practices of telemarketing and basically to help you sue telemarketers successfully.
My gift to you; enjoy your summer. And to any telemarketer reading this blog, get another job.

Political robo calls

We got through another political primary season. The telephones were ringing with political solicitations. Unfortunately there is no way to stop these political robo calls; except to threaten them with your vote. Yea it’s annoying, and yes they are as bad as the telemarketers who think they know what we need more than we do. But when it comes to privacy vs. free speech, the politicians win this round. Politicians make the rules and politicians have exempted campaigning solicitations from the TCPA. So talk to your candidate and ask him not to waste everyone’s time by sending out those annoying robo calls that no one stays on the phone to listen to the end of the message.

Pesky police and firemen bogus telemarketers go down

Charity telemarketers settle FTC suit for $18.8M in alleged scam
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Last updated: Thursday April 1, 2010, 12:37 PM

The owners of an Edison telemarketing company that did fund raising for police and other non-profit organizations have agreed to pay $18.8 million in fines and permanently get out of the business to settle a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission.

The fine paid by Civic Development Group and its owners, Scott Pasch of Warren and David Keezer of Monmouth Beach, is the largest civil penalty ever awarded in an FTC case.

The government accused CDG of misleading consumers into believing that they were donating directly to various police, firefighters and veterans charities, when in fact nearly 90 cents out of every dollar contributed went into the company’s bank accounts.

Although Pasch and Keezer didn’t admit to any wrongdoing, each will pay the federal government about $6 million in penalties under the settlement agreement. The remainder of the fine will be paid by the company itself.

Exhibits attached to the settlement agreement offer some insight into the lavish lifestyle CDG’s principals have been living.

Among the holdings the owners have already sold off or will have to liquidate are Pasch’s $2 million home in Warren, Keezer’s $2 million home in Monmouth Beach, three Mercedes-Benzes, two Bentleys and paintings by Picasso and Van Gogh. Even a 14-karat-gold diamond engagement ring is listed among the items that may be up for sale.

Pasch, Keezer and CDG also are defendants in a similar lawsuit pending against them by the California Attorney General’s Office.

CDG was the largest of several telemarketers cited in an investigation by The Record last September into the practices used by telephone solicitors to raise money for police organizations. For several years the company was the principal fund-raiser for the New Jersey State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police in Trenton.

According to its 2007 tax return (the most recent the group had filed at that time), the police group raised $4.15 million from the public — of which $3.64 million went to CDG.

Late last year, the Fraternal Order of Police announced it was phasing out its public fund-raising efforts, and instead would rely solely on members’ dues to fund its activities.

“The FOP severed its ties with Civic Development Group in December,” spokesman Ernest Landante Jr. said Wednesday.

This week’s settlement closes a lawsuit in which the FTC accused the company of violating the terms of a 1998 consent order, as well as the FTC’s telemarketer regulations. In the 1998 settlement with the federal government, CDG denied having engaged in deceptive practices such as telling donors the phone solicitors worked directly for the charities, but agreed not to make use of them in the future.

The government said Wednesday that CDG tried to evade the earlier order’s requirements by calling itself a consulting firm and claiming that its telemarketers thus became contract employees of the non-profits. When they had potential donors on the phone, the commission alleged, CDG workers would say they were employees of the charity.

The government also alleged that the company’s callers would insist that 100 percent of any donation went directly to the charity, when in fact the money went to an account controlled by a company headed by Keezer’s mother.

This latest settlement bars the company and both men from ever engaging in the charitable fund-raising business; in addition, they are barred from the telemarketing industry, even for profit-making companies.

This is at least the sixth lawsuit filed by the federal or state governments against CDG since 1995 that resulted in the company agreeing to pay fines and to not engage in deceptive practices — including one brought by New Jersey, which received $125,000 to settle a lawsuit in 1999.

The $18.8 million will go to the federal treasury and not toward reimbursing donors, said FTC spokesman Robert Kaye. Because tens of thousands of people gave relatively small donations in response to CDG’s solicitations, Kaye said, “logistically it would be very, very difficult to reimburse them.”

Kaye added that the case was brought in civil court because “we are a civil enforcement authority. We don’t have criminal authority, although the FTC certainly works with criminal law-enforcement agencies. But I can’t speculate as to why criminal authorities would or would not bring a case in these circumstances.”

Roseland attorney Matthew Oliver, who represented Pasch, didn’t return a phone call seeking comment. Keezer’s lawyer, Edward J. Dauber of Newark, was unavailable.

Among the other items the two men are giving up is $4.3 million Keezer has in nine bank accounts. He will also be selling his 2007 Cadillac Escalade, 2006 Bentley and a Sea Ray Sundancer cruiser boat.

In November, Pasch listed nearly 1,000 vintage bottles of wine with an auction house in White Plains, N.Y., including a Lafite Rothschild 1989 valued at as much as $4,400. He is also auctioning off 30 classic guitars, including three Gibson Les Paul Customs valued at a total of more than $200,000.

Pasch is also selling off paintings by Picasso and Van Gogh. A Jan. 30 letter from the owner of the Russeck Gallery in Palm Beach, Fla., to Pasch’s wife, Lisa, notes, “Sadly I am unable to get any real offers on your pieces,” which include a 1937 Picasso ink drawing titled “Minotaur.” “The only offers have been in the $300,000 to $400,000 range,” the letter adds.

E-mail: lipman@northjersey.com
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The owners of an Edison telemarketing company that did fund raising for police and other non-profit organizations have agreed to pay $18.8 million in fines and permanently get out of the business to settle a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission.


In addition to agreeing to get out of the charity fund-raising business altogether, the owners of CDG Management will also cede property to the government to cover the nearly $20 million fine they’ve agreed to pay. The items range from real estate to jewelry, from cars and boats to wine collections and prized guitars:

* David Keezer
* Scott Pasch
* Bank Accounts
* Jewelry
* Artwork
* Wine
* Guitars

The fine paid by Civic Development Group and its owners, Scott Pasch of Warren and David Keezer of Monmouth Beach, is the largest civil penalty ever awarded in an FTC case.