Giant Subscription Scam Goes Nationwide

MEDFORD, Ore. (CN) — Dozens of companies have sent out so many mass mailings disguised as subscription notices that 375 newspapers and thousands of people have complained, the FTC claims in court.
     The Federal Trade Commission sued 37 companies on April 27 in Federal Court, though that’s just a fraction of the alleged fraudsters.
     A single defendant, Liberty Publishers Services, operates under 39 dbas, according to the lawsuit. Another one, Express Publishers Service, uses 23 other dbas.
     All have official-sounding names, such as the Associated Periodical Network, Associated Publishers Readership, Magazine Billing Network, Magazine Payment Processing, and so on.
     All 25 corporate defendants, and their dbas, operate out of Oregon.
     Ten defendants are people: owners, operators and/or agents of the corporate defendants.
     The nationwide scam has caused thousands of headaches, the FTC says in the complaint.
     “Defendants have received multiple ‘cease and desist’ letters directing them to stop taking unauthorized subscription orders for more than 375 newspapers,” the complaint states. “Defendants’ practices have prompted thousands of consumer complaints. Many consumers experienced delivery problems or delays or they did not receive the requested newspapers at all. Some consumers paid twice for the same subscription and some complained about what appeared to be substantially inflated renewal rates. Many consumers attempted to cancel payments to defendants, but were unsuccessful or they received only a partial refund.”
     Despite the thousands of complaints, the defendants use “a complicated and ever-changing web of companies” to send direct mailings called “Notice of Renewal” and similar notices, in junk mail throughout the country.
     The FTC seeks freezing of assets, restitution, disgorgement of ill-gotten gains, and injunctions and penalties for violations for the FTC Act.
     The individual defendants and their affiliations are Linda Babb (Anchor), Shannon Bacon aka Shannon Balero aka Shannon Gordon (Clarity Group), Jeffrey Hoyal (Hoyal & Associates), Lori Hoyal (Hoyal & Associates), Colleen Kaylor (Customer Access Services), Laura Lovrien aka Laura Babb (Liberty Publishers Services and others), Noel Parducci (Henry Cricket Group and others), Lydia Pugsley aka Lydia Babb (Adept Management and others), Dennis Simpson (Reality Kats), and William Strickler (Wineoceros).
     The complaint does not include the individual defendants’ places of residence, but it accuses them of participating in a common enterprise with the corporations and LLCs.
     Here are the defendants: Adept Management Inc.; Anchor Publishing Group Inc., a New York corporation; Associated Publishers Network Inc.; Atlas Business Consulting LLC; Clarity Group Inc.; Consolidated Publishers Exchange Inc. also dba Premier Subscription Services; Processing Express Solutions; Crown Resource Management LLC a Nevada corporation; Customer Access Services Inc.; Express Publishers Service Inc. dba Associated Billing Service, Associated Publishers Readership, Billing Services of Circulation, Circulation Billing Marketplace, Circulation Network Services, Global Billing Service, Lakeshore Publishers Billing, Magazine Billing Network, Magazine Distribution Marketplace, Magazine Payment Processing, National Magazine Marketplace, National Magazine Network, Publication Network Services, Publishers Billing Marketplace, Publishers Distribution Network, Publishers Magazine Service, Readers Magazine Services, Readers Payment Network, Subscription Billing Agency, Subscription Billing Network, United Billing Service and United Publishers Agency; HCG Inc.; Henry Cricket Group LLC, a New York company; Hoyal & Associates Inc.; Liberty Publishers Service Inc., a New York corporation also dba Allied Publishing Services, American Consumer Publishers Association, Associated Publishers Services, Billing Services of America, Bradford Publishing Service, Circulation Billing Services, Global Publishers Center, Lake Shore Publishers Service, Magazine Billing Services, Magazine Distribution Service, Magazine Payment Services, Magazine Subscriber Services, Magazine Subscriptions Center, National Magazine Services, Periodical Billing Services, Platinum Subscription Services, Publication Service Networks, Publishers Access Services, Publishers Billing Exchange, Publishers Billing Services, Publishers Consolidated Subscription Services, Publishers Distribution Center, Publishers Education Services, Publishers Magazine Billing, Publishers Magazine Payment, Publishers Marketplace Service, Publishers Network Exchange, Publishers Payment Services, Publishers Periodical Service, Publishers Processing Service, Publishers Services Exchange, Readers Billing Services, Readers Payment Service, Seascape Publishers Network, Slo Call Center, Subscription Billing Service, Subscription Payment Exchange, Subscription Payment Services and United Publishers Services; Magazine Clearing Exchange Inc.; Magazine Link Inc.; Maximillian Inc., also dba Maximillian Inc.; North West Data Services LLC; PPP Magazine Inc.; Publishers Payment Processing Inc., a New York corporation; Publishers Payment Processing Inc.; Reality Kats LLC; Specialties Inc.; Subscription House Agency Inc.; United Publishers Exchange Inc., a Nevada corporation dba Associated Publishers Network, Circulation Billing Network, Magazine Billing Associates, Premier Subscription Network and Publishers Magazine Exchange; Wineoceros Wine Club Inc.; Linda Babb, individually and as officer of Anchor Publishing Group Inc.; Shannon Bacon aka Shannon Balero and Shannon Gordon, individually and as an officer of Clarity Group Inc., Consolidated Publishers Exchange Inc., PPP Magazines Inc., Specialties Inc. and Subscription House Agency Inc.; Jeffrey Hoyal, individually and as officer of Hoyal & Associates Inc.; Lori Hoyal, individually and as an officer of Hoyal & Associates Inc.; Colleen Kaylor, individually and as officer of Customer Access Services Inc., Magazine Clearing Exchange Inc., and Magazine Link Inc.; Laura Lovrien aka Laura Babb, individually and as officer of Atlas Business Consulting LLC, Liberty Publishers Service Inc., North West Data Services LLC and United Publishers Exchange Inc.; Noel Parducci aka Noel Littlefield and Noelle Littlefield, individually and as an officer of HCG Inc., Henry Cricket Group LLC, Maximillian Inc., Publishers Payment Processing Inc., Reality Kats Inc. and Wineoceros Wine Club Inc.; Lydia Pugsley aka Lydia Babb, individually and as officer of Adept Management Inc. and Crown Resources Management; Dennis Simpson, individually and as an officer of Reality Kats LLC; William Strickler, individually and as officer of Express Publishers Service Inc.; and Wineoceros Wine Club Inc.

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