FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Tuesday, April 16, 2013
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605)773-3215
1st Choice Sales and Marketing, Inc. Representatives Enter Guilty Plea for Travel Scam
PIERRE, S.D - Attorney General Marty Jackley announced today that Angie Lee-Barnes, 38, Daniel Island, South Carolina and Teresa Poston Duffee, 50, Georgetown South Carolina, pled guilty to one count of failure to inform buyer of right to cancel, class 2 misdemeanor. Sentencing will be scheduled in June.
Charges stemmed from sales presentations that were conducted at a Sioux Falls hotel in December of 2012. The questionable presentations generated numerous consumer complaints to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. 1st Choice Marketing enticed consumers with fraudulent travel vouchers promising airline tickets from an airline that is nonexistent. In addition, the voucher notification includes a statement which reads “This is not a timeshare or land sales offer.” Once consumers called the number listed on the notification, they were instructed in order to redeem the travel voucher they would have to attend a meeting that would last approximately 90 minutes. In addition, they failed to provide consumers with the necessary three day right-to-cancel notification form.
As part of the agreement, restitution in the amount of $19,304.00 will be returned to consumers. 1st Choice Sales and Marketing must send certified letters to each consumer who signed up for this “travel service” indicating that they may cancel the contract at any time. Upon receipt of the cancellation the company will have 10 days in which to issue a refund.
This case was investigated by the Division of Criminal Investigation and the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.