Illegal Telemarketers Arrested by State of Florida
By Matt O'Hern // July 15, 2013
MORE THAN $75,000 IN FINES ISSUED
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is pursuing unlawful telemarketers.
This week, the department published a release that confirmed 14 arrests and issued more than $75,000 in fines, while cracking down on unlicensed and unlawful telemarketers this week. According to the release, several telemarketing rooms in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties appeared to be operating without appropriate licensing. Investigations revealed two companies that were operating illegally.
“This is just one example of our department’s priority to protect consumers across the state,” Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam said. “We will not tolerate businesses that attempt to take unlawful advantage of Floridians.”
Last Thursday, Brainard McKinley Morgan (DOB 7/26/67) was arrested at Morgan Air Conditioning, 14807 N. 12th St. in Lutz, for operating an unlicensed telemarketing business and employing at least seven unlicensed salespersons. According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the company had these unlicensed salespersons calling residential homeowners in order to obtain new customers. A Cease and Desist Order was issued to the business and to the seven salespersons. An administrative fine of $19,500 for telemarketing and Do Not Call violations was also issued to the business.
Last Friday, officers arrested Jason Bortz (DOB 10/30/74), owner of Interactive Study Systems, 3985 Gateway Centre Blvd. Suite 200 in Pinellas Park, and charged him with 10 counts of employing unlicensed telemarketers. In addition to Bortz, 12 salespersons were also arrested, 10 for unlicensed telemarketing and two on outstanding warrants. A Cease and Desist Order was issued to the business and to the unlicensed salespersons. An administrative fine of $56,000 was also issued.
Arrests made were: Jonathan Boudreaux (DOB 7/28/82), Telemarketing without a license; Larry Bradley (DOB 7/21/75), Telemarketing without a license; Eric Goltz (DOB 12/15/81), Telemarketing without a license; Jose Lebron (DOB 2/20/67), Telemarketing without a license; Xavier Hinds (DOB 10/08/81), Telemarketing without a license; Zakia Walters (DOB 01/19/81), Telemarketing without a license; Stephanie Smith (DOB 7/05/79); Telemarketing without a license; Thomas (DOB 11/16/76), Telemarketing without a license; Carolyn Handy (DOB 11/18/65), Telemarketing without a license; Toi Harris (DOB 02/02/83), Telemarketing without a license; Joseph Zukosky (DOB- 9/13/85), Outstanding Arrest Warrant, Violation of Domestic Violence Injunction; Patrice Lafaye Ashe (DOB 9/15/71), Outstanding Arrest Warrant, Worthless Checks.
Florida statutes require all businesses and individual salespersons engaging in telephone solicitation to be licensed by the state of Florida.
Consumers who believe fraud has taken place can contact the department’s consumer assistance and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).