BBB warns of electricity scam spreading in the Texas Permian Basingreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
BBB warns of electricity scam spreading in the Permian Basin
By D. Lance Lunsford
The Better Business Bureau of the Permian Basin is warning consumers and investors about a new scam claiming to give residents free electricity.
The electricity scam asks for $5 to become an investor/user of a new technology that doesn't exist, said Permian Basin BBB President Dick Rowland. He said the con artist is attempting to spread this scam to West Texas -- a scam that originally started in the late 1980s.
"We've had a few call on it. Mostly what we're getting is this spread like a multi-level marketing thing," Rowland said. "People have a very loose understanding of how this stuff works, and they want to get the best deal they can, but the way this operates ... it's just impossible."
The scam requires a payment of $5 -- and for an additional $9.50 plus shipping costs -- people can get a videotape demonstrating how the machine, which generates electricity, operates.
The idea is fairly simple. The machine, while working under the power of a home's electricity, generates more power with a "new technology" so the scam victim can sell that power back to the utility company as well as neighbors.
Then for each person who sends in $5, he or she can sign up others for the generator. To sign up, each new requester of this generator must send in five dollars. The problem is that no one has received the generator, which is supposedly free.
However, a close look at flyers, Internet pages and the actual registration form with International Tesla Electric Company show a complete glimpse at what the company plans.
The actual contract states, "You will never be required to pay anything to receive the technology 'if and when' it is ready for application to homes in the USA."
Further examination shows the scam is not illegal because the registration form states, "The company acknowledges your position in line for the use of a FREE ELECTRICITY MACHINE to be delivered and installed on your home, 'if and when' they are available."
The actual contract gives the suspected con artists another loophole adding ITEC generators "to be placed if and when (ITEC) make the units available."
Rowland said the enticement is as tricky as its suspected creator.
"This thing is a scam. The guy who set this up has been involved in a variety of scams and con games, a lot," Rowland said.
That suspected creator is Dennis Lee, who operated in New Jersey before operating scams all over the nation. Lee travels the country charging people up to $275 for admission to see his operation and explanation of this electricity generating machine.
In these seminars, people claiming to have severe misgivings for the potential of the electricity generating machine stand and make praise for Lee's proving demonstration. Other spectators have grown suspect believing the reverse saying praising audience members were people planted in the audience.
One Midland resident who paid for the service continues to receive mail from the company. According to those documents, Lee and his company are planning a similar demonstration in Austin in October of this year.
To make matters more cumbersome, ITEC explains the reason for the wait for distribution of this invention is to accumulate a waiting list of 1.6 million.
In a frequently asked questions sheet distributed by a company associated with ITEC, they explain a demonstration was conducted in the late 1980s by Lee, but shortly after the demo, "law enforcement officials raided his headquarters and took all of the technology and all of the records (technology and financial)."
It also explain Lee realized his invention was released without a strong public demand for the product that would help overcome "the powers that be," which the FAQ lists as a "tragic mistake."
Rowland believes this to be a fictionalized account to garner support for Lee and his free electricity generator.
Meanwhile, while more and more people catch onto Lee's scam in the Permian Basin, law enforcement and judicial officials all over the nation wait for Lee to slip up and prove to make his very own tragic mistake in falsely selling products that do not exist.
Web posted at: Jun 13 2001 2:01AM
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), June 13, 2001
It doesn't take much to bring the con men out from under the rocks, does it?
-- QMan (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 14, 2001.