Judge halts alleged credit-card scam

Posted: February 04, 2012

A federal judge in Illinois temporarily halted an alleged telemarketing scam in Philadelphia and Jenkintown that defrauded financially strapped consumers of $4.82 million, the Federal Trade Commission said Friday.

The FTC, which asked for a temporary restraining order Jan. 26, said the scheme involved bogus credit cards, under brand names such as "Platinum Trust Card" and "Express Platinum Card," with an upfront payment of $69 to $99, and a recurring monthly fee of $19. Many of the thousands of victims had applied online for high-cost pay-day loans shortly before telemarketers contacted them.

But instead of receiving the promised credit card that could be used like a Visa, MasterCard or American Express card at Walmart and other stores, victims received, at most, "a thin plastic card with the shape and appearance of an authentic credit card," according to a memorandum filed by the FTC last week.

The card could only be used at a collection of 10 online stores "stocked with a seemingly random assortment of off-brand, overpriced, and downright bizarre products, most of which are sold only in comically large quantities," according to the FTC. Examples of items for sale are a case of 432 shower caps for $430.56 and a case of 144 "play flutes" for $573.12.

Among the companies targeted by the FTC were Apogee One Enterprises L.L.C. in Philadelphia and Marquee Marketing L.L.C. in Henderson, Nev. The individuals named in the FTC complaint are brothers Blake and Chase Rubin, Justin Diaczuk, and Jules Shore.

An attorney representing the defendants, Kenneth M. Dubrow of Chartwell Law Offices L.L.P. in Philadelphia, did not return a call.

No one answered the phone in offices at 309 Old York Rd. in Jenkintown, a mailing address used by the defendants for bank accounts and other purposes. Among the companies based there, according to public records, are Global Payday Loan L.L.C. and Loan Till Payday L.L.C.

There were two call centers on Johnson Street in Jenkintown, which employed between 30 and 45 telemarketers, FTC attorney James Davis said. A third call center, at 2200 Michener St. in Northeast Philadelphia, employed about 20, Davis said.

Using financial information from loan applications, the defendants allegedly took money from some victims' bank accounts even if the card offer was turned down.

Contact staff writer Harold Brubaker at 215-854-4651 or hbrubaker@phillynews.com.