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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

3 Suspected in Sales Scam Surrender

March 09, 2000|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT

Three people facing charges in connection with the high-pressure sales of water filtration systems surrendered to authorities Wednesday in Ventura, officials said.

Authorities say the three were released on their promises to appear in court March 31 for arraignment.

Aurora Elizabeth Vergara, president of Everclear Water Systems Inc., and salespeople Laura Dora Ortega Saenz and Juan Castaneda Abanto have been named in a 28-count felony and misdemeanor complaint.

The Burbank-based company is accused of pressuring 40 Ventura County families into buying water-treatment systems by telling them their tap water contained pesticides and microscopic bits of feces, human remains and sanitary napkins.

In one case, company representatives allegedly told a customer that children had died from drinking tap water and in another instance a pregnant woman was told her child would be disabled if she drank the water, officials said.

The same company is also under investigation in San Bernardino County. Officials from the Contractors State Licensing Board said Wednesday that other consumers who may have been victims should call the board at (800) 235-6393.

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