SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced a more than $1.4 million judgment against Orange County, California based telemarketers who defrauded investors and timeshare owners of over $250,000. Property Protection Team, LLC (PPT) and four individuals, including owners Thomas S. White and Lacy Jae Treece, cheated more than 50 victims, many of them elderly, by collecting illegal advance fees for bogus “investment recovery” services. PPT targeted vulnerable investors who had lost money in prior investments or who sought relief from money-losing timeshare interests. PPT recovered no money and no relief for its clients – it simply took their money.
“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 judgment 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 Orange County, claimed they would help investors recover their money from dubious investment schemes or timeshares, but the result was that these investors simply lost more money paying PPT for false hope and empty promises. In May 2019, Attorney General Becerra obtained a $1.5 million judgment against a similar telemarketing scam called Consumer Rights Legal Services based out of Long Beach.
Since taking office, Attorney General Becerra has made protecting consumers a top priority. Attorney General Becerra previously 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 California Department of Justice by submitting a complaint at www.oag.ca.gov/report.
A copy of the complaint is available here.