Attorney General Mark Brnovich today announced that his office obtained a Consent Judgment against a series of telemarketing companies owned by Robert Kenneth Contreras. The settlement resolves the State’s claims that PublisherTech, LLC d/b/a Above CMS, Publisher Wealth Corporation, and Upstarter, LLC solicited consumers across the United States by falsely promising substantial income from selling merchandise online.
“Hiring a business consultant is one thing, but falling prey to a scam is something else,” said Attorney General Brnovich. “Consumers harmed by these telemarketing fraudsters paid thousands of dollars for quality service and support that the defendant had no intention of providing.”
Pursuant to the Consent Judgment, Contreras and his companies will pay up to $500,000 in restitution and up to $900,000 in civil penalties. In addition, Contreras is banned from ever again selling business opportunities and internet marketing services in Arizona. Contreras’s companies misled consumers with false claims about the ease of operating the web-based businesses, the likelihood of earning income, and the effectiveness of their internet marketing programs.
In exchange for thousands in fees, Contreras’s companies provided amateurish and substandard website development, merely placing different names on the same few generic templates. After consumers paid, Contreras’s companies failed to support their customers as promised. When customers failed to make any money, Contreras’s companies sold consumers worthless internet marketing programs that increased neither traffic nor sales.
Then, Contreras and his companies ignored complaints and refused requests for refunds. In addition to the consumer fraud violations, Contreras’s companies violated the Arizona Telephone Solicitations Act when their customers did not receive the disclosures, notices, and contracts as required by law. Finally, Contreras failed to maintain consistently the telephonic seller registrations and statutory bonds required by law.
AGTV discussed the case with Assistant Attorney General Jane Fallon and a retired missionary who was scammed out of his retirement money:
Assistant Attorney General Jane Fallon and Senior Litigation Counsel Jennifer Bonham handled this matter for Arizona.
If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website. If you need a complaint form sent to you, you can contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.