Sincerity Comes At A Price
From: Cathy Bacigalupi
Subject: Fundraising Marketer
Date: 21 May 2001
Have you heard of the "National Organizational Industries",
based in Zephyr Hills Florida? They squeezed $995 out of my son's
bank by convincing him that the money was completely refundable and they
only wanted it to prove that he could be "professional" and
sincere in their training process.
Their premise is they pay commissions on "fundraisers" held
by schools for products that the students sell to family and friends.
I have demanded a refund but so far nothing.
Anyone with experiences with this company, please post on this site
or e-mail experience to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a great site! Keep up the good work. We need
more like you in this world.
Just checking back even though I couldn't help much before. Did
you ever get your money back? Did you find out more about the company
or its methods of operation? With a bit more background I can post
this info to warn others but I need an idea of how it links to my site
Subject: Re: Fundraising Marketer
Date: 05 Sep 2001
Yes, I did get my money back. It is a marketing company that asks
for a $1000 "refundable" fee to prove that one is "sincere" about
becoming a sales rep for them.
They state that they will refund the money once the rep has fulfilled
all requirements of training which includes orchestrating several "fundraisers" for
schools in which their catalog merchandise is sold by students with
a percentage awarded to the schools.
I simply pointed out a little contract law to them and my funds
were quickly refunded. Thanks for your interest. Once again,
I have stressed to my son... if it waddles like a duck and quacks
like a duck... it more than likely IS a duck! I hope he finally
To Someone who cares:
What can be done as
far as a non-government-funded retirement residence (privately
owned), where the owner has power of attorney over certain residents
and the money is perhaps not being used to benefit the resident.
I've tried Revenue Canada,
and the Regulatory Body for the elderly. No one seems to
know what to do at this point, other than to contact the authorities. I
find this a bit drastic, especially when you don't have concrete
This establishment needs
to be audited in detail from the very beginning for too many suspicious
things have been going on for too long. If this can go on,
how are we protected in the future from potentially fraudulent
individuals such as these. I lost my job of almost three
months there, likely for asking too many questions. What
can I do? Where do I go? How can I seek the truth?
Good questions on a topic I have yet to cover,
institutional elder fraud.
Regardless of whether you have proof of fraud,
I can think of no circumstances where a non-relative should have
the POA for these people. As the Power of Attorney for a confused
elder I understand the need to assume certain responsibilities
to avoid problems, but your scenario has too great a potential
for misuse, especially when no relatives are around to question
I would contact the police for their advice
and also write to the agency responsible for retirement home licensing,
if one exists. I will post this message in the hopes that someone
has a better suggestion.
Hi again Louise,
I checked with the Attorney General of Ontario's
Investigation Branch of the Public Trustee Section. While
they only handle enquiries relating to abuse of trust, in cases
where an individual is incapable of acting on their own and have
no family, they did provide some info.
Apparently it is common for institutions to
have a trustee relationship for payment processing of government
cheques into a trust account for rent and such. This does
not extend to their other finances unless they do have a Power
of Attorney, which may or may not have restrictions on its use. Lawyers
and trust managers routinely have these so they may act on your
behalf, even when you are mentally capable.
If this is the case they are responsible for
keeping an accounting of transactions, all of which must be for
the sole benefit of the grantor. Any abuse of this trust
is deemed to be fraud or more accurately theft by a trustee and
should be reported to police for investigation.
Further info on this abuse of trust, using
Power of Attorney forms, can be found here.
The Ontario Residential Care Association has
a complaint number for retirement home concerns at 800-361-7254. They
may have the numbers for associations in other provinces as well.
I'm in the process of getting
some information and former staff together to discuss incidences
that each of us have encountered. I have written, lets call it
a petition of sort, a few pages discussing individual occurrences
in which we have all witnessed or overheard at some point and time
during our employment at the Residence. The intent is to have everyone
sign the petition in hopes of an investigation. We will be
meeting soon, and I will keep you informed.
IMTA is over once again and the
mail pours in. It continues to get worse. I got a letter
from a kid this morning about his experiences including watching
kids rip off their clothes at the dance and (my personal favorite),
several agents holding a pot party with some "contestants" in
the bathroom of his hotel room!!!
He said he just invited some
agents and kids up to his room for a final party and had no idea
that the agents brought their own entertainment. He said
he left until he thought they would be gone but when he got back
to his room one of the agents asked him to be sure that one of
the girls made her plane because she was too wasted to get there
has to be done and I don't know who else to contact. Do you have
any ideas or know of any bulletin boards that I can post on?
Thanks for your help. Jeanne
Well Jeanne, apart from the Modeling
Scams section on this site I am sort of relying on you and
your site ParentAlert.com to document these problems in the world
of modeling schools but will post an appeal for info from our viewers
who may be aware of other bulletin boards and awareness sites.
1/06/01 I am an attorney in Louisville,
Kentucky. Recently, two elderly people came to my office
and gave me two checks, written to them by a company purporting
to call itself "ITREX, Inc..
These two elderly people, a husband and a
wife, had delivered $130,000 to ITREX, who had promised to invest
it, for a good return, in the "currency exchange market."
They began to suspect something was afoul,
and demanded their money back. ITREX sent them two checks,
totaling their total investment, but when they tried to deposit
them, the checks came back.
They came to me, and I discovered that the
account the checks were drawn on was closed. No one is returning
messages at ITREX, and the internet page listed on the bottom of
ITREX's letterhead (Itrex.com) definitely does not go to a currency
If anyone has any information on this company,
or this type of operation generally, I would appreciate hearing
Greg Butrum, Attorney at law. 502-581-6528 Lawyer@netpointe.com
I tried a search of all the databases I have and came
up empty on these people who use a real company's name for cover. It
certainly sounds like either, or both, a Prime
Bank Scheme or Foreign
Exchange Fraud, though it's hard to tell without more detail. I
will post your message in the hope that a viewer will shed some more
light on the company and the status of their convictions.
I can use all the help I can
get, but to be honest, I am afraid the people that came to me have
simply been bilked out of a big part of their retirement. A
friend of mine in the securities business also put out some feelers
for this company, and like you came back with nothing.
He suggested I check the California
secretary of state for corporate listings, and I will, but I doubt
I get a hit and even if I do, it doesn't really mean anything. It
costs about $100 to file an incorporation in most states, and an
unscrupulous operator can do a lot of damage with that status.
The FBI is working on this, I
understand. My people were not the only one's who put money in
and have lost. It's a very old scheme, generally. Get
a lot of money out of people, send them a few hundred dollars now
and again which you tell them is profit on the investment, all
the while getting more and more people to put in, and when you've
got a lot of money and people are getting suspicious, pull out
and leave the corporate shell for everyone to sue.
The moral here is that at least
with stocks you have a regulated industry with some oversight,
and if you make sure the money goes into the right kind of bank,
you can still have regular reporting on your funds, and insurance
If I ever get anything good done
on this, I'll let you know. By the way, if you ever need
anything here in Louisville, Kentucky, don't hesitate to call.
I just got finished looking at
your website, and it was very educational. I
was scammed by a credit card company in North York, Ontario, Canada
in October. They used the name U.S. Credit Services and
ended up scamming me for $199 for
a credit card that never came to me.
Fortunately I contacted the BBB
in Toronto and they put me in touch with PhoneBusters, I gave
them my information and they informed me that it was indeed a scam.
Well, I was lucky and in one
afternoon managed to get my money back. I tracked
their bank account down through my bank and they credited it back
to my account. I also had to
change my bank account number, but at least I did get my money
back on my own. Even though I got my money back, I'm still
not satisfied. I want to see these people pay for what they
did to me and thousands of other innocent people, and I'm willing
to do whatever it takes.
Unfortunately, according to your
website, it seems to be that this crime isn't considered to be
very serious in Canada. I'm just curious as to why they can't
be tried in the U.S. since they are dealing with U.S. citizens
and their bank account is held in a U.S. bank. I don't know
if you know anything about this, but if you do I would love to
hear from you.
For info on Credit
Card Offer Scams go here.
I recently received a come-on from a company
that advertised it's credit card insurance services that I believe
was a scam, although I am not positive. Frankly, I didn't trust
the offer though.
In large print they promised me a new credit
card with a limit of up to $5,000 if I just signed up for their
The way it worked was they sent me a check
for $3.75. My acceptance of the offer was conditional upon me signing
and depositing the check and putting the number of the credit card
I wished to insure on the back of the check.
The $3.75 represented the first month's payment
for the credit card insurance and I would be billed on the credit
card I specified for any additional month's insurance.
The price of the insurance after the first
month was unspecified and in the fine print underneath it all,
it said that they would send me an application for a credit card,
not an actual credit card as it stated in the header.
They also promised me a credit report, as
an additional come-on. My guess is that this offer is fraudulent,
and is at the least dishonest by offering one thing in large print
and another altogether in the fine print. I hope that you will
publicize this scheme on your site so that others might not be
suckered into it.
Thanks, Dan Hodges
For info on Credit
Card Insurance Scams go here.
One of Five
Eight and a half years ago in early 1992, I was a student a the
University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. (I now live in
Honolulu, Hawaii.) I could really have done much with some
money, so I allowed a telemarketing firm that does businesses "promotions" to
sucker me out of at least $400!
How this worked: a telemarketer for the marketing firm called
me along with several thousand other "suckers" and told
me that I was guaranteed one of five supposedly valuable prizes. One
was a car, a choice of his or her watch, a hi-fi stereo set, a trip
to Hawaii (or some other exotic place), or $5,000 in cash. However,
I had to try out one of their products. I had to choose one
or the other: $500 of cosmetics, or $400 supply of vitamins. I
chose the vitamins.
The "prizes" were chosen at random a month later. I
was told that I had won the watch. However, when the watch
arrived, I found out that it was worth about only $25 instead of
$500 or whatever!
The marketing firm that pulled off this scam was called American
Premier Marketing. The company they were doing the "promotion" for
was Sierra Pacific and Legacy.
Four years later the people--including me--who were ripped off,
were awarded compensation in cash. But only to the tune of
6% of what we originally lost!
Did anyone else who has written to you get conned by this scam?
Although no one has written about that particular incident the process
is all too familiar. In fact, I fell for it myself as a retail
store owner when I bought some promotional pens which looked like
they were from the fifties, just so I could also pay a high price
for shipping and handling and insurance for my valuable prizes.
The elegant watch, "as seen on Wheel of Fortune", faded
from gold to tin within weeks of wearing it. I couldn't even
tell my wife that it contained "diamonds" for she wouldn't
have believed me without an electron microscope. The Magnavox
stereo system ended up being a featherweight ghetto blaster that
would be laughed out of any ghetto. It didn't even work beyond
the tinny and crackly radio portion.
I can not divulge what I paid for this crap, as my wife might just
read this and have my head even though it was years ago. But
I was lucky. Seniors get taken for their life savings using
the same techniques as shown in the Sweepstakes section of this site. One
of Five Prizes
Nor A Lender Be
Readers have written in asking what to in cases where you get stiffed
by someone you personally know and trusted, only to find that they
are a deadbeat, a con, a fraudster. You lend them money and they
never pay you back. They never intended paying you back. They dump
you, then go on and do the same to the next trusting soul. They move
around, you can’t find them. They never seem to have a job,
yet always have money. Someone else's.
The police are far from interested, except to charge you for harassment
if you try to locate them through their family members or if you
accost them verbally at a chance encounter. You have documentation,
such as bounced checks or promissory notes, to back up your claim,
but how do you enforce it without even greater expense, only to find
they have no tangible or recoverable assets? They would never stoop
to having wages from a steady job to garnishee. You want revenge,
if not reimbursement. Not that they care about their good name, but
can you ruin it? Can you affect their credit rating with a file notation?
Can you claim fraud and have them charged? Can you get a judgment
in small claims court? How do you enforce it? Can you give your claim
to a collection agency for satisfactory action? What does a skip
tracer cost? Can you hire a bounty hunter to rough them up?
How do you seize assets? If collateral is assigned to you along
with someone else afterwards, who has rightful claim to it? In one
case a woman was given a promissory note with a van as collateral.
The fraudster then borrowed again from another person using the same
collateral. That person, presumably after discovering his true nature,
had her lawyer recover the van leaving the first person without anything
to recover. Is this legal? Who has rightful claim? Is
possession truly nine/tenths the law?
Answers to these questions should come from people like yourselves,
people who have lived through this and had some measure of success,
or professionals who deal with these matters daily. Your comments
and suggestions will be of immense benefit to other viewers, so please
Hi, my name is Jo.
I can't believe how stupid I
was. My husband passed away a year and a half ago. After
his funeral, a couple who lived in our complex befriended
me and told me I was like family to them, a sister that they loved
more than their own.
Little did I know, what they
were doing was softening me up for the big kill. I was and
still am devastated by the love of my life not being here. They
brought me food, got a key to my condo, got me a job, came with
me to get a pet from the shelter (the only good thing that came
from the relationship).
Then the hook.. I ended up giving
him $50,000 for his company, a 5% interest in his company. I
was to get a dividend check from this $5 million company on a quarterly
basis. You can guess the rest. NADA.
So far I have contacted the Attorney
General's Office, and the District Attorney's Office, both
said it was not in their jurisdiction. They
both told me to see an attorney. At the consultation I had
with an Attorney he told me to see the Attorney General's and the
District Attorney's office.
A Catch-22 if you ask me. I
really don't know what to do at this point.
It's now Tuesday,
his bankruptcy hearing is Thursday. I really don't
think anyone can help at this time. I just wanted to warn
any other widows or widowers not to trust anyone with their retirement
I know it will be hard. About
two weeks after the funeral no one
calls, no one cares. My phone did not ring once in three weeks. So
like an idiot, I let them take me.
The price of kindness is sometimes
I was just on my way out the
door to file a proof of claim against the bankruptcy. I also
am filing a claim with the State Security Division today. Yesterday.
I filed a claim with the SEC division of the
Federal Government. I need some kind of closure, so I can
get on with my life.
Thanks for your concern. Thanks
for understanding what I am going through.
Thank you for remembering. The bankruptcy was a no go for me. The
scum owes the IRS $124,000.00 and a bank $530,000.00.
The bank loan was a secured loan, so that puts me out in left field.
However, the bankruptcy trustee, told me in no uncertain terms to
pursue the matter with the Securities Exchange Commission and with
the Federal Government SEC.
The local SEC is making an inquiry into the matter, and the
scum has 21 days to respond to the inquiry. As a matter of fact,
while I was responding to your e-mail, I received a call from the
Sec of States office as to his address, so I won't know for at least
another 21 days, if, this inquiry will result in an investigation.
I'll keep you posted as to what happens. Any and all thoughts on
this matter will be greatly appreciated.