BALTIMORE (April 20, 2010) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has entered into a Consent Decree with a Nevada company, National Awards Service Advisory, LLC, and its owner/manager, Geovanni Sorino. Under the terms of the Consent Decree, the company and its owner must immediately stop sending mailings offering prizes to Maryland consumers and must refund all of the fees they charged Maryland consumers. National Awards Advisory and its owner also agreed to pay the Divisions investigation costs and a civil penalty of $25,000, which increases to $100,000 if the company or its owner violate the terms of the Consent Decree.
Last month, the Consumer Protection Division charged National Awards Service Advisory, LLC, (also known as Prize Information Bureau and State of Maryland Commissioners of Registration), and the companys owner, Geovanni Sorino, with engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices in connection with its mail solicitations representing that consumers were confirmed winners of cash prizes as high as $3,400,000. According to the charges, the company sent mass mailings to Maryland consumers promising large cash prizes. When consumers responded by paying $20 fees to claim their prizes, instead of receiving any cash payments, they were sent lists of sweepstakes and prize offerings where they could separately enter to win prizes. The company was also charged with falsely holding itself out as a Maryland government agency.
In Maryland it is illegal to require fees in order to claim a prize, said Attorney General Gansler. Unfortunately, Prize Information Bureau preyed on peoples hopes and dreams. Consumers should never respond to a company that offers big prizes, but requires the payment of a fee to claim any winnings.
For additional information, consumers may call the Consumer Protection hotline at (410)528-8662 or toll free at (888)743-0023.
Source: Office of Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler