FTC Seeks $6.9M in Telemarketing Fraud SuitThe Federal Trade Commission is seeking $6.9 million in restitution from a company that used a telemarketing campaign to mislead citizens, mostly seniors, into investing in a bogus mining operation.
The civil injunction against Global Mining Consulting, Encino, CA, alleges that the company solicited $3.1 million from investors by falsely claiming that several mines in California and Colorado contained "millions and millions worth" of gold and ore.
The lawsuit follows a government settlement in January in which the principals, Mark P. Ford, a former car salesman, and Stephen Noell, a securities broker, admitted no wrongdoing and paid $35,000 in fines.
Federal agents last summer raided the Encino office where 25 telemarketers worked to convince prospects to invest at least $15,000 in a mine the company claimed contains $1.2 billion worth of gold and minerals. Interested parties were mailed a 47-page prospectus that cited false government research and geological surveys confirming the existence of the valuable metals.
No criminal charges have been filed against former Global employees, five of whom are currently working in the same Encino office, selling a new investment.
"In a perfect world, we'd have enough law enforcement to bring charges against the owners and the salespeople," said Connie Wagner, the Federal Trade Commission staff attorney who sued Global. "It's not a perfect world.
-- Nadine M. Kjellberg