Telemarketers Took Millions From Senior Citizens In Medicare Card Scam

There’s now one less unsavory, immoral, disrespectful group scamming senior citizens of their savings, as federal regulators took action against the operators of a scheme in which telemarketers pretended to be Medicare representatives in order to bilk millions of dollars from older consumers.

The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it handing down a suspended $1.4 million fine and banned the scam’s operators from selling healthcare products in the future.

According to the FTC complaint [PDF] filed last year, Benjamin Todd Workman and Glenn Erikson and their companies – doing business as Bright Ventures LLC, Citadel ID Pro LLC, and Trident Consulting Partners LLC – operated a scheme in which telemarketers promised senior citizens new Medicare cards in order to obtain their bank account numbers.

The telemarketers allegedly told consumers they were working on behalf of Medicare and that in order to send new cards, they had to verify the consumer’s identity through personal information, including their bank accounts.

The FTC claims that despite telemarketers’ promises that there was no charge for the new cards, individuals’ bank accounts were debited either $399 or $448 via remotely created checks.

Under the settlement agreement, Workman, Erikson and their related companies are prohibited from selling healthcare-related products and services, as well as identity theft protection-related products.

The defendants are also banned from creating or depositing remotely created checks or remotely created payment orders, billing or charging consumers without their consent and misrepresenting material facts about any product or service.

A $1.4 million judgement included in the proposed settlement will be suspended after the operators make a payment of $35,000 to the FTC. The full judgement will become due if either party is found to misrepresent their financial conditions.

FTC Action: Scammers Banned from Selling Healthcare Products [Federal Trade Commission]