The DOJ is sending another scammer to the slammer. This time, TV was in the promotional mix of a scheme to get consumers to sign up for fraudulent business opportunities. Global Resources was able to soak unsuspecting marks in Southern Florida to the tune of over $4M.
GR’s Stewart Pope was convicted of “mail fraud as well as conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, [and] was sentenced to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay $4,313,093 in restitution,” according to the DOJ.
Television commercials and other media were used to promote business opportunities. In this case, prospects were told they would be given three terminals (which could be used by passersby to pay bills), a number of cell phones and advertising material, all for $15K. It would also find high-traffic areas to locate the terminals, move them if underperforming, give their clients a certain amount of territorial exclusivity and provide ongoing technical support and customer service. Instead, clients – who would make commissions off any bills paid over the terminals – received minimal traffic over them and also received cell phones that did not work.
Pope was part of a group involved in the scam, and joined several colleagues already busted by DOJ.
DOJ warns of similar scams, and urged caution any time a business opportunity involving out-of-office terminals and/or vending machines is offered.
RBR/TVBR observation: As we’ve pointed out in the past, broadcasters are not cops, nor are they expected to be, but it is not only to your credit if you are able to prevent criminals from conducting their business over your airwaves, it is a service to your audience, and serving your audience any way possible should be your first and foremost concern.