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Texas Attorney General Resolves Text Message Fraud Investigation into JAWA, Related Entities
Texas Attorney General Resolves Text Message Fraud Investigation into JAWA, Related Entities   | aust_txbz, JAWA,

Texas Business reports: AUSTIN—The Texas Attorney General’s office issued the following statement about the resolution of the state’s investigation into Arizona-based JAWA and its owners, and the court order requiring the defendants to pay $2 million for defrauding wireless customers in Texas.

“After a thorough investigation, the state determined that JAWA was improperly adding expensive, unauthorized charges to Texans’ monthly cell phone bills. As a result, we charged JAWA and related entities with deceptive trade practices and sought to force the company’s owners to repay the customers they defrauded. Under an agreement reached today, JAWA and the related entities must pay $2 million to the state, repay customers for all unauthorized charges, and establish both a toll-free telephone number and a website to help all affected customers.”

The defendants’ current customers all received a text message informing them of their right to obtain a full refund. Former customers should review their billing statements for unauthorized charges. To obtain a refund, eligible customers should call (800) 482-5392, visit www.jawa.com or any other website for which JAWA has active customers. Customers must submit their cell phone number to request and obtain a full refund of amounts they paid to the defendants.

Under a judgment entered by a Travis County state district court, the state of Texas will receive $2 million from Eye Level Holdings, LLC; Cylon, LLC; Jason Hope; and Wayne Stefano.

The payment shall be allocated as $810,000 to State attorneys’ fees and costs and $1.19 million to the general revenue fund of the state of Texas.

The judgment also includes an injunction that imposes detailed restrictions that will govern the defendants’ provisions of services to existing customers and in any possible future sales of PSMS (premium short message services). For any future PSMS sales, the injunction requires that the defendants provide:

Detailed disclosures regarding the costs and material terms of services in all aspects of the marketing and sale of PSMS.

A comprehensive compliance program that will require the implementation of a written program with the assistance of an independent third party professional with expertise in compliant PSMS sales and periodic training of employees.

For five years, random semi-annual assessments conducted by independent auditors to ensure full compliance with the injunction. Historically, the defendants employed sophisticated “cloaking” technology to hide their advertised Web pages from regulators and cell phone carrier auditors, instead of displaying completely different versions of the pages when a regulator or auditor visited them. The compliance program and audits will ensure they cannot engage in these tactics in the future.