The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has obtained a consent judgment against several INT Sourcing LLC, Premiere Office Supplies LLC, Elite Office Supplies LLC, and their owner, resolving allegations that the owner ran a “toner pirate” scam that sent fake toner cartridge invoices to churches, schools, and businesses.
The State alleged that victim businesses frequently paid these deceptive invoices as a routine business matter. The judgment requires Defendants to pay over a half-million dollars, including $419,640.56 in restitution to fully refund all businesses that responded to the invoices.
In this case, the State’s lawsuit alleged that the Defendants first contacted their victims by telephone, posing as a legitimate business to gain information about the victim’s personnel and equipment. Then, the Defendants allegedly sent the business an invoice for toner cartridges that it did not order, utilizing the information obtained over the phone.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants intentionally included the word “Invoice” in large, bold font on the invoices, along with several other deceptive features, including the words “PLEASE REMIT PAYMENT,” the victim’s name under “BILL TO,” and a five-digit number under “Invoice #.”
Although the defendants claimed that they sent the victim toner cartridges after the victim paid, the retail value of the toner cartridges sent was allegedly only a tenth of what the victim paid. Defendants allegedly used these invoices to collect over $400,000 from unsuspecting victims.
The consent judgment against the defendants requires the companies and their owner to pay $419,640.56 in restitution to victim businesses, at least $140,000 to the State in civil penalties, and $10,000 to the State in attorneys’ fees. The judgment also prohibits the defendants from sending invoices or bills for products or services that consumers did not purchase; from advertising products or services through any advertisement in the form of a bill or invoice; from misrepresenting their identity to consumers in the course of selling or advertising merchandise; and from misrepresenting the existence of a prior business relationship with consumers when no such relationship exists.
The Attorney General’s Office is in the process of contacting businesses that are believed to be eligible for a restitution payment in connection with this judgment.