As usual, let's talk legal. I'm going to try my best to not publicly release the personal information of the individuals involved. Though a lot of them aren't very good people and have broken a few laws, they still have a right to privacy. I also don't feel like getting busted for doxxing.
It was a Monday morning and I had just rolled out of my bed to tune into work. About 20 minutes my day, I get a call from an unknown number. My first thought was, "That's weird, Indian tele-scammers are on vacation right." Pretty much all Indian scam operations are halted due to COVID-19 restrictions in India. I pick up and dial for the operator after being greeted by a robot. This call is about an extended auto warranty and the operator immediately asked me to verify the make and model of my car. She has an American accent and actually sounds like shes from Philadelphia. I grew up in that area, so I have the accent as well. I pretty much ignore her and ask for the name of the company. She tells me with no hesitation and I hang up. Nice, we have a foothold in less than 2 minutes. For the purpose of this article we'll call it Car Warranty CO. I immediately start googling from here. First thing I find are the reviews where most weren't real.
As you can see, it is kinda easy to spot a fake review as most of them would include Car Warranty CO's name in the review. The reviews that weren't five stars were one stars explaining how they had been scammed. Though legit, those reviews were buried. A common practice for scam companies as doesn't take too long to do since people don't post reviews as often as they used to. Let's take a look at the website.
Sure enough, Car Warranty CO's site looks pretty scammy already. I tried calling the number "toll-free" and it went to someone's voice mail. From the way the line transferred into, presumably the owner's, a voicemail I could tell it was landline transferring over to either a VOIP phone or, more likely a cell phone. Interesting. Elsewhere on the website, there was a live chat service available, so I decided to connect and get help.
Sure enough, the live chat wasn't even set up for their website. Hmm, for a company that had been around for over a year (over 15 years in actuality), you'd think they'd have set up the live chat on their website. Even better, maybe have people manning the support line to your company at 10AM on a Monday. Something's not right. From here, I decided to check out that "A" rating from the BetterBusinessBureau on their main page. Their listing on the BBB's website listed an initial address of Philadelphia. The same page also listed several alerts. The first was a warning that in 2015, this company had violated the PA Consumer Protection Law and Fictitious Names Act totaling fines over 50,000. Car Warranty CO had violated these laws by not honoring its cancellation policy and claiming they were certified members of the Vehicle Protection Association. Alright, we're not off to a good start. The next three alerts were from January of this year. They detailed that the BBB was in the process of making an inquiry into the company's cancellation policy again and as well as the false rating of "A" we saw earlier. These letters of inquiry were sent to the address in Philadelphia and returned as not deliverable. In addition to, the BBB stated that they sent a questionnaire to the CEO where the he had stated he was "No longer in business." Hmm, if you aren't answering phone calls, emails, or snail mail why am I still getting a call from your people on a Monday morning? Either way, I now have the CEO's name, so I can pursue the individual.
Let's take a look at some of these addresses listed for this business. One was in Philadelphia, which Google Maps street view shows me a mall at the address. Just in case, I checked the directory of the mall to check if there was a USPS or UPS location for a possible mailbox. Nothing shops in an average mall. Fake addresses are nice... Now Google lists the business being in Wilmington, DE, which actually led to a UPS store. Businesses will maintain a PO Box in Delaware as it is a tax haven in the US, therefor I don't find this too crazy. Why lie about the address to the certifying business you advertise on your website though? Either because the CEO didn't feel like driving to Delaware to get his mail or it's just an old address that had never been changed since the CEO stated he bought the business in April of 2019 (on the company's website), which was a lie since his twitter shows him posting about the business in 2018. The third and final address I found for this business was listed on several sites. In Mantua, NJ, the address led to an small strip of 3 stores, none of which were Car Warranty Co, that backed onto an abandoned building. The address listed on several directories is wrong. I think it's safe to say the owner of this LLC is lying at this point. Especially because the CEO then directed the BBB to the company's new Public Sales Associate who wasn't responding to any emails or written correspondence. "Jimmy John" would, however, answer customers asking for a refund exactly once, then disappear without refunding the customer. Upon further inspection, I'm almost certain this person isn't real. There is only one other hit on this person on Linked In which lists his first job being at Car Warranty Co then another at a service contract business in Chicago. To work at a company since it's creation and go from General Manager and COO (from a press release of a previous closed business) to Sales Associate is a demotion and really doesn't make sense. He also doesn't have any other contact info on his profile, not even an email. Though limited, maybe he's incredibly private and managed to keep all of his social media completely locked down. After inspecting the employee listing on rocketreach.co, I found the most of the calling personnel were outsourced to the Chicago area. Pretty sure I found the girl who called me as well. Shout out Katie for being the only female at the company #Diversity ;)
Now that we've taken a look at the false addresses of the business and possibly unreal person. Let's take a deeper look at the CEO. All of his social media was wide open. Jackpot. His Linked In doesn't list Car Warranty CO, but another business he's running. Why would you not advertise that you're the CEO of a company? Now this man doesn't have any College degrees listed, but is rather proud of his high school diploma. CEO then, all of a sudden, becomes the CEO of one business and the CFO of another we'll call Medical Trainers LLC. This guy sounds pretty miraculous. Looking at his Linked In, he's also recommend by two people. 1) His sister-in-law who is also his lawyer throughout all of this and 2) A man who he gave, word for word, the same review to. I can now say that this man has enough inconsistencies to indicate some sort of white collar crime. None the less, let's look at his other business.
Medical Trainers LLC is a business dedicated to training medical assistants. This business is weird because the position medical assistant is an entry level job that doesn't require a degree or certification. On the other hand, maybe people want to seem more credible, much like cyber-security (BOOM, screw you Offensive Security). Thankfully, this seems more of a front than anything. Looking at the Facebook for this one shows that the CEO of Car Warranty CO's wife runs all social media for it. The image above is after scrolling down a bit on the page, but interesting both people used images from the 80's. Not comfortable with our weight or looks, gentlemen? I tried calling the number at the top, but it went straight to Dr. Gary's voicemail. Another strange occurrence because why would a CEO take direct phone calls from potential customers when you have 2 other employees to do that for you. Looking at the location of this business on Google Maps shows another run down building... that used to be Dr. Gary's medical practice... before he lost his medical license. Dr. Gary lost it for essentially being a drug dealer with an MD and sleeping with his receptionist. Safe to say his wife also divorced him around this time. If we scroll down further we can find an ad that has some interesting details that took me a couple watches to notice.
The above picture shows the wife starring in the video as a receptionist and to the right of the screen you'll see the CEO of Car Warranty CO's daughter. I know this from checking through his Facebook. I was able to find a picture of his whole family. For the rest of this video, his children serve as actors along with what seem to be their friends from school or family members of another employee (who had zero experience in medicine from her resume). All pictures from this "business" are between the months of April and August 2019. There haven't been any pictures at this location since and the most recent review is from December. The only person who has even worked in medicine is Dr. Gary. Final assumption on this one, it seems legit, not very profitable or good, but legitimate.
We have one real business that doesn't seem to get a lot of customers and one scam business that has quite a few complaining. Hmm, sounds like a front to me. So let's jump back to the CEO of Car Warranty Co. I was able to find his address from a picture he posted of a package with a UPS label. I ensured it was his actual house by cross referencing a red golf cart he had in his driveway on Google Maps with the picture he posted of it on Facebook. This house was crazy-awesome. HUGE to say the least and semi-remote in a quiet suburb. The two businesses this guy runs are extremely small. How does one afford a million dollar home with one real business. In short, the Car Warranty CO made around $4.5 million dollars last year (according to Owler.com). Take home for the CEO is probably close to $2.3 million on that if he's paying his 24 employees (claimed), part-time minimum wage. That's crazy for not actually providing a product to your customers. The legitimate reviews said that when they got in a car accident the company wouldn't provide funding for their vehicle, after already being told their vehicle qualified. With his wife's sister being a lawyer, the legal fees were definitely minimal. This guy had it set to sit on his ass and accrue money.
Final thoughts, scammers do work in the US and they will take your money. Check on your elderly family. Teach them how to properly handle robocalls. From that lawsuit in PA it seems the attorney general attempted to shut down this business (from a FOX 43 article in 2015), but couldn't get the CEO on enough to put him in jail. The CEO did move to Southern NJ, which may have been what took him off the legal radar. I, personally, believe this has mob ties. Whether that be Italian or Irish, I don't know, but this is exactly what people in the mob do. They sit around all day thinking of schemes to scam people and make money. With the past all members involved in both companies have, it wouldn't surprise me one bit. Being from the area, I also know that both mobs have presence in Philly and South Jersey (even have mutual Facebook friends with some of the employees which is scary). However, I have no evidence of this being a mob family. From the presented information there are several laws actually broken and some possibly broken. According to the FTC, robocalls trying to sell me something are illegal without written consent. This directly breaks the TRACED Act. In the Consumer Fraud Act of NJ, New Jersey Statutes § 56:8-2 "makes it unlawful to, among other things, use any deception, fraud, false promise, or misrepresentation in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise or real estate." That BBB A rating is actually an F and it is misleading a "reasonable" customer to believe the business and product are verified. If the Medical Trainers LLC is actually a front, receiving the funds from Car Warranty CO, that's money laundering. Then if the CEO is actually a part of the mob, he'll would face racketeering charges for being a part of a criminal organization and making a significant profit. I'm no lawyer, but this could be quite an ordeal. Given all that, I have no plan to pursue this any further... Stop calling me, scammers.