LA HABRA — Local, state and federal authorities said they shut down a telemarketing operation Wednesday that allegedly preyed on senior citizens by falsely promising cash prizes in return for fees upfront.
The County of Orange Boiler Room Apprehension task force raided the La Habra business known as North Star Publications as well as the Whittier home of its operator, Rachel Bennett, 25. No arrests were made.
North Star, leasing an office in a motorcycle repair shop, called seniors nationwide with a pitch that promised cash prizes once the seniors sent in money for taxes or fees, typically $300 to $400, said Alan Vanderpool, an Orange County district attorney's office investigator.
Authorities haven't found anyone who had received the promised cash prize during the six months the company operated, he said. "We don't know the exact amount lost, but so far, we estimate it's $150,000," he said.
The joint task force was created to shut down telemarketers who deceptively target the elderly.