Saturday, October 21, 2006

Watch out for this one

LAS VEGAS (AP) - State and federal authorities have shut down a Nevada-based business that authorities say scammed people into paying $20 for a valueless newsletter with deceptive mailers suggesting the recipient won a sweepstakes prize.

The Federal Trade Commission said the fraudulent "sweepstakes" operation violated federal law by sending personalized mail to millions of people nationwide, telling them they won a substantial cash prize even though no prizes were awarded.

A lawyer for Las Vegas-based National Prize Information Group Corp. and company owner John Rincon denied allegations of deceptive trade practices and promised to fight lawsuits filed in Las Vegas by the FTC and the Nevada state attorney general.

"Customers received a real and valuable service," attorney Sheldon Lustigman said Friday from his office in New York. He said Rincon offered money back to dissatisfied customers.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jones in Las Vegas on Thursday halted operations and froze the assets and business records of Rincon and his businesses: National Prize Information Group Corp., Las Vegas Actionable Award Program, Prize Search Express and National Bureau of Prize Information.

The Nevada attorney general's consumer protection bureau also filed suit in state court Wednesday, alleging false, misleading and deceptive advertising, and false representations in a transaction.

The FTC said personalized mailers lured people into sending money with discriptions of "uncollected" but "confirmed" prizes, "unawarded money" that had been "located and documented" and "authorization to disburse" a "guaranteed cash/prize amount."

Some people who paid $20 received a newsletter drawn from public sources listing sweepstakes and instructions on how to enter, said Jo Ann Gibbs, a senior deputy Nevada state attorney general.

Small print in advertisements referred to the newsletter, state and federal investigators said, but not that recipients had not won a prize.

Some people who sent money received more mailers soliciting more money and suggesting they had won other prizes, the Federal Trade Commission said in a statement.


This all goes to show that if a sweepstakes asks you to send money to them, they are probably a fraud. Please be careful out there. If you ever have any concerns about the sweepstakes we have at, please let us know and we will investigate.

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