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Class Says|Runs Massive Online Fraud

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Classmates Online defrauds the public by claiming old classmates are trying to get in touch, and selling subscriptions to its service based on this lie, a class action claims in Superior Court. The class claims Classmates has suckered hundreds of thousands of people this way through its Web site.

After sending the fraudulent message about old classmates, Classmates charges suckers for a "Gold Membership," named plaintiff Anthony Michaels says. He says he paid for the subscription only to find that there were no old classmates trying to get in touch with him.

He also sued Classmates Media Corp. and United Online, the Woodland Hills-based corporate parent of Classmates.

"Classmate Online Inc. owns and operates the Web site, which is a subscription-based Web site that 'reunites classmates, friends and family, teachers, co-workers and military personnel,'" the complaint states. "Its database contains millions of records of people from schools, places of work and the military. boasts to have up to 50 million registered users, who register with the Web site at no cost, and 2.7 million subscribers who pay varying subscription fees to access various tools and content."

Michaels sues on behalf of himself and all others "who were led to believe that past acquaintances from school, work, and/or military service were trying to contact them through the Web site. This is nothing more than a ruse to get plaintiff and the class to pay for a subscription to"

Michaels says that "without the Gold Membership, fee members cannot find out who visited and/or signed their profile, and also, send and receive messages from 'classmates' through the Web site."

He demands punitive damages for "A class consisting of all persons located within the United States who purchased a subscription to in response to an email, correspondence, advertisement, message, text message, and/or other communication initiated by the defendants indicating to the class that individuals and/or past acquaintances are trying to contact them."

Represented by Brian Kabateck, the class demands damages for intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, negligence, fraudulent concealment, and violations of state business codes.

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