Attorney General Gansler Charges Florida Company with Deceptive Solicitations Promising Large Cash Awards
Company Used Maryland Address in Deceptive Promotions
MD ( Feb. 11, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has filed a case against a Florida company, Synchronicity, LLC and its owner/manager, Michael J. Connors, charging them with engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices in connection with their prize offers. According to the Division's charges, the company mailed tens of thousands of solicitations offering large cash prizes and other valuable items; however, consumers who responded to the mailings received little or nothing in return.
The Division alleges that the company used various names, including Office of Financial Services Administration, Lynch Galbraith & Branley, Class Action Watchdog, and Prize Payment Administration Service, as if it were a government agency, a firm handling class actions, or a prize company, and represented that consumers were eligible to receive cash grants, awards, or prizes valued at millions of dollars. The company instructed consumers to return an "entitlement," "procurement," or "allocation" fee – usually of $20, but sometimes higher – to a post office box in Hagerstown in order to collect their grant, award, or prize. The Division also alleges that consumers sent more than $2 million to the Hagerstown post office box, but received $1.00 checks or nothing substantial in return. The Division also contends that the mailings were deceptive and is seeking an order requiring the company and its owner to cease sending deceptive offers to Marylanders or using a Maryland address, to return the fees collected, and to pay penalties and costs.
"Consumers should always be wary of any offer that seems too good to be true," said Attorney General Gansler. "You should not believe these types of promises of large awards, and never pay a fee to receive a prize."
A public hearing on the charges is scheduled for Tuesday, May 3, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. at the Office of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road in Hunt Valley. Consumers who wish to contact the Consumer Protection Division regarding this matter may call (410)576-6337.