Govt Files Charges In 'business Opportunity' Scams

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The government has filed criminal and civil charges against several individuals and companies accused of ripping off unemployed and other vulnerable people with work-at-home and other business scams.

The Justice Department announced the cases Thursday. The government has been cracking down in recent years on con artists who prey on jobless people and seniors with promises of big profits in return for a fee. The rise in unemployment since the recession began has led to an increase in such scams, officials say.

The latest cases involve criminal charges against 14 individuals and civil allegations against three companies, Justice said. The schemes include so-called business opportunities working at home, selling jewelry or energy candy, and operating vending machines.

The three companies named are Zaken Corp., Christopher Andrew Sterling and Smart Tools.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More from Opinion

Attention 60 Minutes: Google Isn't the Only Big-Tech Monopoly

Attention 60 Minutes: Google Isn't the Only Big-Tech Monopoly

Apple Buys Tesla? Amazon Buys Sears? 3 Dream Mergers That Just Make Sense

Apple Buys Tesla? Amazon Buys Sears? 3 Dream Mergers That Just Make Sense

Amazon's Assault on Grocery Stores Will Have a Profound Impact on Many

Amazon's Assault on Grocery Stores Will Have a Profound Impact on Many

It's Dumb to Think There Aren't Already Monopolies in Big Tech

It's Dumb to Think There Aren't Already Monopolies in Big Tech

Google's EU Battles Are Hardly a Reason to Panic

Google's EU Battles Are Hardly a Reason to Panic