ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCES $22 MILLION JUDGMENT IN CONSUMER FRAUD TRIAL
Attorney General Thurbert Baker announced today that a DeKalb County jury this afternoon returned a $1.8 million verdict against two defendants in a scheme to bilk consumers out of money by enticing them with the promise of winning monetary prizes. Jeffrey Lee Landers and Terrance E. Carter, doing business as Premier Incentives and Savoy Group, were charged with sending out letters to consumers around the country, fraudulently misleading them into believing that they had won $10,000 prizes in exchange for paying $65 or $70 fees.
The civil suit was filed in September 1997 by the Attorney General on behalf of Barry Reid, Administrator of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs, whose office discovered and investigated the violations. The Office of Consumer Affairs is charged with enforcing Georgia’s Fair Business Practices Act. The state’s complaint also alleged that the defendants targeted the elderly with the bogus prize announcements.
After hearing the evidence, the jury deliberated and quickly reached a verdict finding that defendants had committed 56,446 separate violations of Georgia’s Fair Business Practices Act and ordered restitution by the defendants in the amount of $1,885,145. Immediately following the jury’s verdict, the court assessed additional civil penalties of $20,001,075. State law authorizes up to $5,000 for each violation of the act.
The case was tried in DeKalb Superior Court before Judge Gary J. Leshaw, sitting by designation. The state was represented by Assistant Attorneys General Leigh Braslow and Sid Barrett. This is the biggest civil judgment in the history of the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs.