Senator Markey Urges Justice for Victims in Telemarketing Fraud

Contact: Giselle Barry (Markey) 2022242742

Lawmaker files amicus brief with Sen. Casey and Rep. Schwartz in Reyes v. Zions First National Bank case

 

Washington (October 21, 2013) - Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (DMass.) filed an amicus brief in a case alleging Utahbased Zions First National Bank was complicit in a telemarketing scheme that defrauded thousands of elderly and lowincome customers of more than $30 million, including thousands in Massachusetts. The underlying case involves a group of vulnerable individuals who were defrauded by telemarketers who deceived victims into providing bank account information.  The bank processed the fraudulent charges without consumers' knowledge despite being repeatedly informed about the ongoing fraud.

 

The amicus brief urges the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to overturn a lower court decision to deny classaction status in the case, Reyes v. Zions First National Bank, et al.

 

Senator Bob Casey (DPa.) and Representative Allyson Y. Schwartz (DPa.) joined Senator Markey in filing the brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

 

"All the victims of this scam deserve to make their case for full reimbursement," said Senator Markey. "I believe the court erred by refusing to certify the class, which effectively ends the opportunity for these victims to seek the justice they deserve. Today we are asking the Court of Appeals to give all of the victims, including thousands from Massachusetts, the opportunity for justice and fair compensation. Financial fraud of this type is a scourge that preys upon some of the most vulnerable in our society. Shutting the court house door to these victims does not serve the interests of justice or fairness, and it is my hope that today's amicus will help persuade the Court to certify the class so the case can move forward."

 

"Pennsylvania seniors who were harmed by this scam deserve a path to justice," said Senator Casey. "Fraud against vulnerable seniors is a cowardly crime, which is why I've introduced legislation to increase penalties on those who would scam seniors. I'm hopeful that by filing this brief will allow this case to move forward so impacted seniors have their day in court."

 

"This bank profited by turning a blind eye to warning signs of possible fraud," said Rep. Schwartz. "This willful ignorance allowed predatory merchants to take advantage of customers nationwide, particularly senior citizens and the most vulnerable. I've joined with Senator Casey and Senator Markey to call for victims in this case to be allowed their day in court."

 

Plaintiffs sued in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania via an attempted class action. Unfortunately, the judge in the case refused to certify the class, claiming that the plaintiffs were too dissimilar, even though they were all defrauded by the same type of telemarketers. While the suit could continue without the class being certified, it would only count as plaintiffs a fraction of the group of injured persons. As such, the decision by the lower court would effectively end the case if left as is. The suit is aimed at the bank that processed the transactions, Zions First National Bank, which profited from the fraud.

 

A copy of the amicus brief can be found HERE .

 

Senator Markey is on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Senator Casey is on the Special Committee on Aging. Rep. Schwartz is on the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security.