PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The Arizona Attorney General's Office says they have shut down a telemarketing operation targeting seniors. Some of those targeted suffered from Alzheimer's disease, and the telemarketers aggressively asked them to buy household products at a huge markup, claiming the money was going to charity.
The AG's office says that some of the telemarketers claimed to be veterans or handicapped, and the money would go to help them and others in need. Now the owner of the company is facing big fines, many of the sales calls were recorded.
The calls came from a now-empty office in the west valley. According to the AG's office, the telemarketers were relentless and occasionally tried to be charming.
They say that Robert Foster and his company Happy Hands, Standing Tree, and Action Point badgered customers up to 10 times a day. The workers pretended to be veterans and were selling items purchased from Costco and Walmart, with a markup of up to 1,800%.
Garbage bags, ziplock bags, even a fruitcake for nearly $90 each.
The operation has victims from all over the country. FOX 10 spoke to one woman who says her mom was targeted in Minnesota.
"Now I understand why my mom was apprehensive about answering the phone. These people could be pretty nasty, but they should have never contacted her, she was on the Do Not Call list since 2003," said Carla Johnson.
As part of a settlement with the AG's office, the operations had to shut down. The AG's office says none of the proceeds went to charity.
"I told them straight out, I told them I don't know how they sleep at night," said Johnson.
The defendants now have to pay $30,000 in restitution to consumers who have already filed a complaint. They also have to pay $120,000 in fines along with State's attorney' fees and investigate costs.