PHOENIX (CN) – Affiliate Strategies and allied telemarketers target old people in a scam that claims a “grants guide book” will get them $25,000 in “free government grant money, guaranteed,” the FTC says in Federal Court.
After suckering consumers for the $69 book, the companies inundate victims with misleading ads for more expensive grant “services,” which cost as much as $265 per page, says the FTC, joined by Kansas, Minnesota and North Carolina in its federal complaint, filed in Wichita and also in Phoenix.
The states and the FTC say Affiliate Strategies and its creatures claim that their grants guide will guarantee consumers a $25,000 grant from the government that they can use for anything: bills, vacations, education or health care.
Defendants include the Landmark Publishing Group, Grant Writers Institute, Answer Customers, Apex Holdings International and Real Estate Buyers Financial Network, all based in Overland Park, Kansas; and their officers, Brett Blackman, Jordan Sevy, James Rulison, Martin Nossov and Alicia Nossov.
If a sucker calls the telemarketers for more information, they get an automated message that promises their money back if they do not receive a $25,000 check, according to the complaint. A telemarketer then sells them the “grant guide” for $69.
Then the defendants try to push additional grant writing “services” on their victims, for up to $265 per page, according to the complaint. The companies claim – falsely – that their grant writers have a 70 percent success rate.
The defendants charged another $995 for “grant coaching,” which consisted of only a list of “grants, contests, loans, entitlement programs, and social welfare programs,” according to the complaint.
The FTC and the states demand refunds and want the defendants’ accounts frozen and a receiver appointed.