April 1, 2011, 11:09 AM

Washington state seeks victims of an e-commerce services scam

The attorney general’s office said three state residents must pay restitution.

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Businesses that fell victim to an e-commerce scam that originated in Washington state could be eligible for refunds.  But business owners first must contact the state’s attorney general’s office.

The potential refunds relate to a deceptive practice suit filed by the attorney general’s office in 2009. Washington state accused three state residents—Jeremy Avey, Alexander Martin and Brent Stanphill—of promising to help small business owners sell online, taking their money and then failing to provide the promised services. The state said it acted after receiving 22 complaints from business owners.

The three defendants, operating behind various company names, offered such services as shopping cart integration, search engine optimization and web site design, according to the state’s complaint. Defrauded clients could be owed an average of $1,800, the state has said, though at least one small business owner paid the three defendants $8,700 for web site hosting services that were never delivered.

In March, the state won a ruling against the three, who are required to pay $80,000 in restitution, along with $80,000 to reimburse the state for its investigation and court costs. The three defendants operated behind the following company names:

• White Crane Technologies

• TNT Cart

• Strada Technologies

• Cybercom Technologies

• Wizy-Wiz eCommerce

•ABC eCommerce

The state attorney general’s office, however, says it has no way to contact potential victims of the scam. Business owners who think they are victims, and who can provide proof of payment, can learn more about the case via this site operated by the attorney general’s office, and file complaints via this site.  The office says it will consider refunds only for payments made prior to Dec. 3, 2010. The office will accept refund requests until March 29, 2012. Payments will be made after that date.

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