Lawsuit filed against woman accused of deceptively soliciting Philadelphia consumers
HARRISBURG, PA. — Attorney General Bruce R. Beemer today announced the filing of a consumer protection lawsuit against Wanda D. Rogers, a woman accused of misleading homeowners in Philadelphia by sending them solicitation letters that gave the appearance she was connected with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Records.
The letters, which also allegedly listed fictitious government officials, sought payment for the processing of deeds for homeowners’ new homes.
“These deceptive practices and misrepresentations caused confusion and led consumers to believe they were dealing with the City of Philadelphia,” Attorney General Beemer said. “The law requires companies making solicitations of this nature to state clearly that they are not associated with a government agency.”
The lawsuit against Rogers, who did business as Philadelphia Deeds and Registry Offices, is the result of an investigation by the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
According to the lawsuit, Rogers’ solicitation letters sought a processing fee between $135 and $227 from homeowners in Philadelphia. The letters asked homeowners to pay the fee to obtain a copy of the deed to their home. The fees also allegedly covered processing, indexing, proofing, microfiche and recordings costs.
Rogers had no association or connection to the City of Philadelphia, but her letters allegedly included a variation that bore the symbol of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The letters were also delivered with forms that made it appear as if she was a representative of a government agency, the lawsuit alleges.
According to the lawsuit, multiple versions of the solicitation letters Rogers sent listed Alice Bolden, department manager, and Robert Calabrini, assistant manager. However, these government officials do not exist, the Attorney General’s office confirmed.
Attorney General Beemer and Philadelphia Inspector General Amy L. Kurland reminded homeowners that they have the ability to obtain a copy of their deed, on their own, for little or no cost.
“They city provides services at no cost to the public, and those services should never be misappropriated for private gain,” Kurland said. “We can’t allow people to take advantage of the public’s trust in government.”
The lawsuit seeks to permanently ban Rogers, a Philadelphia resident, from engaging in future unfair or deceptive acts or practices in violation of the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. It also seeks full restitution, as applicable, to all consumers who have suffered losses and requires Rogers to pay civil penalties for each violation of the Consumer Protection Law.
The lawsuit seeks $1,000 for every violation of the Consumer Protection Law, as well as $3,000 for every violation involving a consumer 60 years old or older. The lawsuit further seeks payment to cover investigative and legal costs and disgorgement of all profits.
The lawsuit was filed by Deputy Attorney General Nicole R. DiTomo of the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.
Attorney General Beemer thanked the Philadelphia Department of Records, the Philadelphia Office of Inspector General and the Philadelphia Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their assistance with this investigation.
Consumers with questions, or who would like to file a complaint, may contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection by phone at 800-441-2555, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting www.attorneygeneral.gov.
SOURCE: Attorney General’s Press Office