After following up on more than 100 complaints that alleged a Thousand Oaks office supply business was scamming its customers, the Ventura County district attorney's office announced Wednesday that it is filing a civil complaint against the Moorpark couple who run the business.
Ventura County Superior Court Judge Barbara Lane also issued a restraining order Wednesday morning stopping the company from continuing its telemarketing cold calls to small businesses, Deputy Dist. Atty. Mitch Disney said.
The judge also said she would assign a receiver to run the business.
The business--Express Office Supply, also known as CTF Enterprises Inc.--is run by Mark and Carol Footitt, Disney said.
The two could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Prosecutors allege that the company, using telemarketers, would make cold calls to businesses falsely implying that it was the supplier of the company's photocopy toner, and that the price of the toner was going up, but that the businesses were eligible for a discount.
In fact, the supplies would actually cost two to four times what the companies usually paid, Disney said.
After getting the initial order, prosecutors allege that the businesses were hounded and duped into making additional orders. The victims--all outside California--were mostly small businesses, nonprofit organizations and charities, Disney said.
The company allegedly duped one small business owner in Texas during a one-year period into ordering 39 toners for one machine at a cost of more than $12,000.
Disney, who works with the District Attorney's Consumer and Environmental Protection Division, said the company could face civil penalties of up to $2,500 for each of the hundreds of alleged violations.