FTC asks court to halt $70 million phone “cramming” operation

150px-US-FederalTradeCommission-Seal.svgThe FTC recently asked a U.S. district court to halt the a $70 million cramming scheme in which American eVoice and eight other firms posted bogus charges to customer phone bills without their knowledge or consent.

The agency also requested that the court freeze the operation’s assets as it proceeds with the case. The FTC also alleges that, in addition to posting bogus charges to customer phone bills, the operation transferred profits from the scheme to Bibliologic, a non-profit company operated by Steven Sann, one of the defendants in the case.

The charges ranged between $9.95 and $24.95 per month, and hundreds of consumers complained that the charges suddenly appeared on their phone bills. The FTC complaint alleges that the defendants told phone companies and third-party billers that the consumers had authorized the charges by filling out e-forms.

The FTC complaint says that the defendants violated the FTC Act by unfairly billing consumers for unauthorized services and falsely affirming that consumers were obligated to pay for the charges.

The FTC complaint names the defendants as Steven Sann, Terry Lane (Sann), Nathan Sann, Robert Braach, American eVoice, Emerica Media, FoneRight, Global Voice Mail, HearYou2, Network Assurance, SecuratDat, Techmax Solutions and Voice Mail Professionals.

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