March 16, 2009
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has resolved the states enforcement action against a direct mail marketing firm that operated an unlawful lead card scheme and targeted senior citizens.
The defendant, Prospect Pros LLC, which did business as American Seniors Alliance, used improper tactics to obtain senior citizens personal information. According to state investigators, the defendants packaged and sold the unlawfully obtained information to insurance companies and sales solicitation firms.
Under the agreed final judgment filed today, Prospect Pros LLC, Prospect Pros Inc. and owners William D. and Lynn Thompson, of Plano, are prohibited from sending misleading or untrue direct mail to senior citizens. In the future, the defendants must clearly disclose when mailers are sent on behalf of a particular insurance agent or other vendor and that these representatives may contact seniors who respond.
The newly required disclosures will ensure that senior citizens are aware of the direct mail solicitations true purpose. Prospect Pros has also agreed to pay $30,000 to reimburse the state for its attorneys fees.
In early 2006, the state took legal action against four lead card generation schemes, including Prospect Pros. All but one, Lead Concepts Inc. and its owner Christopher Weir, have been resolved.
Prospect Pros produced and mailed misleading direct mail solicitations that were intended to alarm senior citizens. The defendants mailers featured urgent messages in boldface type and appeared to come from government agencies and were intended to obtain the recipients personal information via postage-paid return cards.
Prospect Pros, for example, mailed a Medicare Update that purported to provide information about changes to the Medicare program and appeared to be sponsored by the federal government. By law, the lead card solicitation must state clearly that it is not affiliated with any governmental agency. Other mailers appeared to inform older Texans about estate and probate tax avoidance.
In other cases, mailers were designed to make elderly recipients think their government benefits might be in jeopardy and that returning the cards would preserve those benefits.