FTC: Florida Pitchmen Punished in Envelope Stuffing Scheme

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The Federal Trade Commission announced a set of final judgments and orders settling charges against two Florida-based principals and the corporations they ran for misleading consumers into believing they could earn up to $3,000 per week stuffing envelopes at home.

Brought as part of "Project Biz Opp Flop," a law enforcement sweep targeting fraudulent work-at-home business opportunities, the FTC's complaint charged the defendants with using spam, Web sites, and direct mail circulars to promote false earnings claims about envelope-stuffing and mailing opportunities.

Under the court judgments and orders, the defendants are barred from making similar deceptive pitches in the future and from violating the CAN-SPAM Act by sending e-mails with misleading subject headers or other means.

The orders also contain monetary provisions, imposing a $2,058,027.41 judgment against the defendants, which represents the estimated amount of consumer injury caused by their scam.

According to the Web sites and e-mail, defendants claimed they would pay $10-plus-postage costs for each envelope consumers stuffed and mailed. They also promised substantial income from $550 to $3,000 per week.

Consumers paid a fee of $65 to $160 up-front for a package of supplies from the defendants. Consumers received the envelope-stuffing materials, but soon discovered they were simply sending out more solicitations for the defendants' purported business opportunities. None made the money the defendants promised and none were reimbursed for postage, the FTC said.

The actions resolve the FTCs charges against the following defendants: Sun Ray Trading, Inc., a Florida corporation; SR & Associates Inc., a Florida corporation; Rolando Galvez-Garcia, aka Rolando Galvez, individually and as an officer of one or more of the corporations; Anneelises Flores Adino, aka Annielises Flores, Annielises H. Flores, Annie Flores and Anny Florez, individually and as an officer of one or more of the corporations; and Kostadin Osvaldo Marte Tavarez, aka Kostadin Marte.

Defendant Flores was dismissed.

The judgment has been suspended, based on their inability to pay, the FTC said, Defendant Marte, however, will give up approximately $1,300 in frozen assets as part of the settlement.

The judgments and orders also contain record-keeping and reporting provisions to ensure the defendants comply with their terms.

The judgments and orders were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, and entered by the court on June 8.

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