The Consumer Protection Section of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office announced it filed a civil lawsuit against Rocio Trujillo (03/16/1982) and her husband, Anthony Trujillo (09/07/1979) and several companies they operate for violating the Colorado Consumer Protection Act (CCPA). The complaint alleges that the Trujillo’s orchestrated a magazine telemarketing scam that victimized thousands of consumers. The elderly were specific targets. On Friday, Denver District Court Judge Laff entered a temporary injunction shutting down these businesses and freezing their bank accounts.
“The Trujillos preyed on thousands of consumers, many of whom are senior citizens, for nearly $1,200 per victim,” said Attorney General John Suthers. “Because consumers filed complaints with our office, we had the documentation needed to interrupt this illegal telemarketing scheme,” Suthers explained.
From 2002 to the present, the Trujillos ran several interrelated companies, RNA Direct Marketing, LLC; America’s Elite Media, Inc.; America’s Elite Magazines; Patriotic Readers Club; AA Publishers, LLC; and All American Publishers. Also named in the complaint are Subscription Data Processing, LLC and Fulfillment Data Processing, Inc., companies the Attorney General alleges acted with full knowledge of the deceptive telemarketing scheme and facilitated its success.
The complaint filed in Denver District Court alleges that the defendants orchestrated a three-pronged business model to complete their deception. First, the Trujillo’s placed harassing sales calls to magazine subscribers with the goal of convincing the consumer they are their current magazine provider. Once accomplished, consumers were next deceived into participating in a recorded “verification” process. Then, the Trujillos would claim the “verification” process was an oral contract and aggressively collect on the “contracts.” The Trujillo’s typical magazine package supposedly provided the consumer with five magazine subscriptions each of which ran from one to five years, and cost $1,200. In actuality, some consumers were billed up to $100 per month and have “contractual obligations” in excess of $2,000.
“One elderly woman received 46 magazine orders including seven orders for Redbook, five for Woman’s Day and three for the TV Guide,” flagged Suthers. “Some of the 46 orders were submitted by the Trujillos while others were from other telemarketers, however, all were handled by Subscription Data Processing,” Suthers alleged.
In addition, the Trujillos are accused of engaging in other deceptive trade practices including threats to send consumers to collection agencies to bully them into participating in the “verification.” Assuming a consumer could even get in touch with the Trujillos to try to cancel their subscriptions, the Trujillos claimed their sham “verification” process entitled them to charge consumers a $400 cancellation fee for the first year of the “contract” and $200 for cancelling in the “contract’s” second year. Sometimes, the Trujillos failed to even order the magazines.
The Attorney General’s Office is seeking permanent injunctive relief against the defendants to prevent them from engaging in further deceptive trade practices. In addition, the Attorney General’s Office seeks to have any financially injured person completely compensated and for civil penalties to be ordered payable to the state’s general fund. With respect to each elderly victim, the Attorney General’s Office seeks a penalty per person of up to $10,000.
Consumers or businesses who fear that they have been victimized by this or any other scams should contact the Colorado Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-222-4444, or file a complaint on-line at www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov.
The case is on file with the Denver District Court and at this time, all defendants have been served.