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Articles Posted in Tech support fraud

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Des Moines-based broker Voya Financial Advisors (VFA) has been fined $1 million in a cybersecurity case that’s the first under the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule. VFA has agreed to pay the fines in relation to a case that saw their systems compromised and the personal information of thousands of the firm’s customers at risk.

sec-300x198The SEC announced this week that it has charged VFA with violating the Safeguards Rule and the Identity Theft Red Flags Rule. These rules were designed to protect customers from cyberattack activity, and protect customers and their confidential information.

In April 2016, over a six-day period, one or more individuals posing as an independent contractor called VFA’s technical support number to request portal password resets for three representatives. Two of those calls came from phone numbers that were used in previous fraudulent activities. Technical support personnel not only reset these passwords but provided the usernames as well.

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Investment Center Broker Accused of Stealing $300K from Elderly Client on silverlaw.comLeon Vaccarelli allegedly defrauded a total of nine clients out of more than $1 million

In May, former financial advisor Leon Vaccarelli was charged with 12 counts of fraud and money laundering in a federal court in Connecticut. If convicted on all of them, he could receive a maximum penalty of 210 years in prison. After pleading not guilty, Vaccarelli was released on a $100,000 bond.

Vaccarelli is alleged to have stolen money from several clients between 2011 and 2017. During that time, he reportedly informed his clients that their money would be invested in different places, including money market accounts and retirement products. What Vaccarelli actually did, according to investigators, was put the money into his own account and use it to pay his own expenses. In addition, federal prosecutors also say that he also used client money to make interest payments to other investors.

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AlphaBridge Capital Management Charged by SEC for Fraudulent Fund Valuation Scheme By silverlaw.com

Hedge fund firm owners agree to $5 million combined settlement

On June 1, 2015 the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Greenwich, Connecticut-based AlphaBridge Capital Management and its two owners with fraudulently inflating the prices of securities in funds they managed. These inflated valuations caused the funds to pay higher management and performance fees to AlphaBridge.

According to the SEC news release, AlphaBridge Capital Management and its owners – Thomas T. Kutzen and Michael J. Carino – “told investors and its auditor that it obtained independent price quotes from broker-dealers for certain unlisted, thinly-traded residential mortgage-backed securities.” In fact, what the firm did was give “internally-derived valuations to broker-dealers to pass off as their own.”

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The Office of the Attorney General of the State of Florida has filed a series of complaints alleging that four South Florida companies — (1) ASAP Tech Help LLP, (2) E-Racer Tech LLC, (3) Protech Support LLC d/b/a Rapid Tech Support, and (4) Techfix USA LLC d/b/a Smart Support and First Class Tech Support — engaged in a ruthless telemarketing scheme through which each company allegedly marketed deceptive computer software and tech support services to consumers that were little more than false promises aimed at bilking consumers of millions of dollars.

According to the lawsuits, each company used software — such as pop-up ads warning of viruses or other malware — designed to trick consumers into thinking that there were problems with their home and office computers.  The software directed consumers to call the companies, which then subjected those consumers to high-pressure deceptive sales pitches for tech support products and services to fix their non-existent computer problems.  By preying upon consumers’ lack of technical knowledge, the companies were able to convince consumers that their computers were fraught with viruses and a multitude of computer errors for which those consumers purportedly needed security software and tech support services that typically cost between $99 and $600.  In all, the companies were able convince numerous consumers that the non-existent problems actually did exist, and each company made huge profits in the process.

In November 2014, Florida’s Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission obtained temporary restraining orders against two other South Florida-based tech companies (Inbound Call Experts LLC d/b/a Advanced Tech Support and Advanced Tech Supportco LLC) with similar deceptive schemes marketing and selling computer support services and software.  The Attorney General now believes that some of the newly-charged scammers are former employees of the companies named in the November lawsuits.

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The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Florida have filed a complaint alleging South Florida-based Inbound Call Experts LLC d/b/a Advanced Tech Support (“ICE”), Advanced Tech Supportco LLC (“ATS”), and their principals in a $120 Million telemarketing scheme through which ICE and ATS allegedly marketed deceptive computer software and tech support services to consumers that were little more than false promises aimed at bilking consumers of millions of dollars.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in Florida, ICE and ATS used software designed to trick consumers into thinking that there were problems with their computers and then subjected those consumers to high-pressure deceptive sales pitches for tech support products and services to fix their non-existent computer problems.  By preying upon consumers’ lack of technical knowledge, the companies were able to convince consumers that their computers were fraught with Spyware, Malware, viruses, and a multitude of computer errors for which those consumers purportedly needed security software and tech support services that each cost as much as $500.  In all, the companies were able convince numerous consumers that the non-existent problems actually did exist, and Advanced Tech Support and others made millions of dollars of sales in the process.

Silver Law Group has successfully recovered multi-million dollar awards for its clients in a wide variety of fraud cases throughout the country and abroad.  If you have questions about your legal rights, or have been the victim of telemarketing fraud or high-pressure sales pitches attempting to convince you to purchase needless computer software and computer repair services, contact Scott L. Silver to discuss your legal matter in a free consultation.  CONTACT: Silver Law Group, 11780 W. Sample Road, Coral Springs, FL 33065; Telephone: (800) 975-4345 (Toll Free); Web site:www.oldsilverlaw.p7dev.com; E-mail: ssilver@silverlaw.com.

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