Postal inspectors examining seized sweepstakes mail

March 09, 1995|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,Sun Staff Writer

Postal inspectors are examining documents and mail seized from a Reisterstown sweepstakes marketing company after thousands of people complained they had been bilked in buying memberships.

A temporary injunction issued by the Federal Trade Commission also was delivered to Quality Marketing Inc. when the U.S. Postal Investigation Service raided the company at 6 a.m. Tuesday, in a mail-fraud investigation begun in 1992, authorities said.

"The materials will be studied and taken before a grand jury," said Paul J. Trimbur, a U.S. postal inspector leading the investigation.

Mr. Trimbur said Quality Marketing offered memberships at $5 to $25 per month, for which it was to enter people in various sweepstakes around the country.

But complaints began pouring in from disgruntled customers who had not collected any significant prizes, Mr. Trimbur said.

"We had over 5,000 complaints since 1992 about this company," Mr. Trimbur said, adding that none of those customers said they had won more than 50 cents.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service became involved in the case after consumers said the company was sending sweepstakes solicitations through the mail.

Inspectors discovered that the company, also known as Research Award Center, was operating 41 sweepstakes firms. The raid was conducted on its office on Business Park Drive, off Reisterstown Road.

Efforts to reach the company by telephone were unsuccessful hTC yesterday, and no one could be found at the company's office.

A receiver also was appointed Tuesday by the U.S. attorney's office to take control of Quality Marketing until further notice, Mr. Trimbur said.

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