The Sann family is accused of having $70 million in fake phone charges posted on users’ bills. The scam, started in 2008, has cost users millions while the Sanns ran nine fake companies to place unauthorized charges on their bills. The Federal Trade Commission is now investigating the issues and has already asked for an injunction.
“The Sanns, who are from Montana, are accused of using nine companies to post unauthorized charges on people’s phone bills. Steven Sann, Terry Sann, Nathan Sann and Robert Braach, their accountant, have been named in the complaints. Usually, the charge was a monthly fee of $14.95 that showed up on a customer’s phone bill, but the total amount the family is accused of collecting is $70 million.
“The family used nine companies to run the scam by alternating among them. They are all involved in either voice mail or fax services, but none of them appear to be legitimate. The companies have been revealed and include SecuratDat, American eVoice, Network Assurance, Emerica Media Corp., FoneRight, HearYou2, Global Voice Mail, Voice Mail Professionals and Techmax Solutions. The Federal Trade Commission is asking for an injunction that would prevent these companies from continuing to operate.
“The Sann family has used the money collected from the scams to purchase land. In addition, some of it has been used to pay for legal expenses that stem from Steven Sann’s medical marijuana charges. They are also accused of using the Bibliologic organization they created as a way to deposit the money. The actual amount that the Sanns have received through their nine companies is lower than the $70 million charged. They actually received $40 million after being forced to refund customers who complained about the unauthorized charges.
“The Federal Trade Commission has found more than 110,000 voice mail accounts listed as active by the Sann family, but a total of 12 people seem to be actually using them. This means that the 110,000 are probably all unauthorized accounts created without permission from customers. The main problem is that many people do not examine their phone bills in detail and miss the charges of $14.95 a month. Since these charges tend to be listed at the very bottom of the bills, they are easy to miss. Others may not understand that they can dispute unauthorized charges on their bills or they may not have time to do this. The Federal Trade Commission wants to shut down the nine scam companies and freeze their accounts.