Boiler room arrests

Friday, April 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

A KOTV Consumer 6 investigation helps authorities in Florida break up a telemarketing scam. Two men are facing several felony counts, including fraud. Police say there were hundreds, maybe thousands of victims in several states who lost hundreds of dollars. Many were in Oklahoma, and one of them spent nearly a year fighting back.

Consumer Reporter Diane White has her story. It's a story of determination and perseverance for one woman from Sapulpa. She decided to take a stand, she wrote letters, made phone calls and didn't give up, and finally won the battle that began last June. "I was real happy. It made my day." It made her day to win a ten-month fight. A fight that began with money. Marie Mullins needed some last year to remodel her kitchen. She was looking for a loan, when this newspaper ad caught her eye. "You call the ad and they were so persuasive, Yes we can approve you, no problem." But there were problems. She had to send a $259 money order to Consumer Credit Alliance in Florida. She received a membership packet with information about finance and credit, but never got a loan and never got a refund.

She wrote complaint letters and called KOTV. We put her in touch with the office of the comptroller in Florida, which began an investigation. "Less than a week ago I got a letter from the Office of the comptroller. They were letting me know my case against the consumer credit alliance was filed and the individuals associated with the company were arrested." Arrested for allegedly operating an illegal telemarketing ring, a boiler room. "And they named Bruce Hurley, age 37 an David Stein, age 20. And I remember talking to both of them on the phone." Both men are facing 11 felony counts in Florida, including organized fraud. Marie Mullins was one of many victims, but she was one of the first to fight back. "I stopped them from scamming people. These two individuals cannot do it any more and I hope the others out there doing it will learn a lesson from that." Just as she learned to never give up. Marie is still hoping she can get her $259 back. Remember that advance fee loans are illegal.

If you see an advertisement or get a questionable offer, contact the State Attorney General's office. The number in Tulsa is 581-2885.