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SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced today judgments totaling $1,498,574 in a lawsuit against telemarketers who scammed investors. The company, Consumer Rights Legal Services (CRLS), and four individuals, including CRLS’s president and owner, James Davitt, cheated more than 150 victims by offering bogus “investment recovery services” that they claimed would recover money victims had lost from previous investments. Many of the victims were elderly and had already lost hundreds of thousands of dollars from previous schemes.
“The California Department of Justice is committed to protecting consumers from unscrupulous operators who prey on the most vulnerable,” said Attorney General Becerra. “In this case, these con artists not only targeted the elderly, they doubled down to cheat Californians who had already been the victims of financial fraud. Today’s announcement sends a strong message that California will not stand for those who choose to disregard our laws, and we stand ready to prosecute anyone who violates them.”
The telemarketers, operating out of Long Beach, cheated victims by making a false and deceptive sales pitch that CRLS could recover their investments for an up-front fee of several thousand dollars. In truth, the company offered only false hope and recovered nothing for the victims. In some instances, victims even paid CRLS to recover fees they had paid to a prior “investment recovery” scam called Consumer Advocate Services Enterprises, where Davitt and other CRLS personnel had previously worked. In addition to judgments totaling $930,800 in penalties and $567,774 in restitution, Attorney General Becerra recovered almost $25,000 in victim restitution pursuant to a bond issued to CRLS under California’s Telephonic Sellers Law.
Since taking office, Attorney General Becerra has made protecting consumers a top priority. Among other actions, Attorney General Becerra recovered $148.7 million for California from Wells Fargo in settlements over the bank’s systematic misconduct to exploit its own customers; recovered $102 million from BP Energy in a settlement for overcharging Californians for natural gas; and reached a settlement to provide over $51 million in debt relief for students deceived by the now-defunct for-profit Corinthian Colleges.
Consumers are encouraged to report scams to the Office’s Public Inquiry Unit by calling (800) 952-5225 or by submitting a complaint.
A copy of the judgments can be found attached to the electronic version of this press release here.