Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Stumbo Announces Sentencing of Campbell County Man Involved in International Telemarketing Scam
Attorney General Greg Stumbo announced today that Matthew Gordon Hunt, of Ft. Thomas, was sentenced yesterday to five years incarceration and $65,000 restitution. In April, Hunt, age 31, pleaded guilty in Campbell County Court to six felony counts relating to his involvement in an international telemarketing scam that stole millions of dollars from victims across the country. The counts include four felony telemarketing counts and two felony counts of receiving stolen property. Hunt’s brother, Brian J. Hunt, also pleaded guilty to related felony charges on January 10, 2006. His sentence will be imposed in September of this year.
Hunt admitted in a statement given to investigators that he and his brother helped telemarketers unlawfully debit victims’ bank accounts using account numbers received from criminal telemarketers operating out of Canada and India. The Canadian and Indian telemarketers obtained some of the bank account numbers from telemarketing victims whom the criminals contacted with bogus offers of credit cards and promises of U.S. government grant money.
According to the scheme, the victims would obtain a credit card or a grant upon payment of a fee, usually between $199 and $299. During the sales pitch, the telemarketers would also obtain the victim’s bank account number. Some victims received credit card application materials, but none ever received the promised credit card or grant. In more egregious cases, the bank account numbers were simply obtained and debited without even contacting the victim.
The Hunt brothers facilitated this illegal activity by forming a company known as Mountain Peak Financial which was used as a conduit between the victims’ bank accounts and the telemarketers accounts located outside of the United States. The Hunts, through Mountain Peak, notified third party processors who used the victims’ account information to electronically transfer funds from the victims’ accounts to the Hunts’ merchant bank account without proper authorization. The Hunts took a portion of the funds as a fee and transferred the balance to the telemarketing companies located in Canada and India. Between November 2003 and August 2005, approximately $3 million in victims’ money was processed through Hunt’s Mountain Peak Financial account. The Hunts’ fees garnered “fees” in excess of $125,000 from the victims, many of whom were elderly or had credit problems.
“This fraudulent banking activity, known as ACH fraud, is the latest type of attack on consumers,” Attorney General Stumbo said. “This case highlights the importance of consumers closely reading their bank account and credit card statements to make sure there are no unauthorized charges. If unauthorized charges are found consumers should contact their bank and dispute the charge and contact the Attorney General’s Office.”
The case was investigated by the Attorney General’s Office of Consumer Protection and Kentucky Bureau of Investigation. The Attorney General’s Office was also assisted in the investigation by the United States Customs Bureau, and the Fort Thomas Police Department. The case was prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Division with assistance of Campbell County Commonwealth Attorney Jack Porter.
Victims of Telemarketing Fraud can contact the Office’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-866-877-7867.
Matthew Gordon Hunt, 29