The Attorneys General of North Carolina and Kansas has filed suit against companies that officials say trick people into paying for government grants that don't exist.
The six companies named in the lawsuit are Affiliate Strategies, Landmark Publishing Group, Grant Writers Institute, Answer Customers and Apex Holdings of Kansas, and Real Estate Buyers Financial Network of Raleigh.
“Grant scams use people’s hopes for money in hard times to bilk them out of hundreds or thousands of dollars,” North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said. “Consumers who get caught up in these schemes never see one dime of grant money.”
The attorney general says the group first uses mailings that promise consumers a guaranteed $25,000 grant from the government to pitch a guide on how to win grants. Consumers who get the mailing are instructed to call a telephone number where they hear a recorded pitch that alludes to the recent federal economic stimulus package. At the end of the call, a live telemarketer urges consumers to buy the grant guide for $59 plus $10 shipping and handling.
Follow-up pitches from the companies charge people hundreds of dollars. Officials say someone in north carolina spent $3,500 and never received any grant money.