Advance Fee Fraud Government Grant Scams
03/06 -VINELAND, NJ -- The so-called company that scammed an East Avenue man out of $600 is a large scale operation that goes by several different company titles to scam people throughout the country, police said.
The North Dakota Attorney General's Office has opened an investigation into Grant Network, a company that took the credit card information and Social Security number of a 46-year-old city man who thought he was paying for an application for government grants for his son's college education.
Grant Network uses the Philadelphia address of Office USA for mailing, but a representative there told police Grant Network has never actually had an office there and they hadn't heard from the company in six months, according to a police report.
The Attorney General's Office e-mailed police a briefing on their investigation, which listed a man named Ken Gomes as the leader of the scam.
He is also known as Ken Anthony Gomes and Ken Gomez, and he is currently residing in St. Johns, Antigua, in the West Indies, according to the report.
Grant Network also is known by several other names: FirstNationalGrant.com, Advantage America, Advantage America Inc., Advantage America Benefits, MyGrantManagement.com, First National Benefits, First Government Grants, First National Health Care, First National Health Care Benefits Limited, Titan Financial, First National Government Grants, AIG Limited, Premier Health Benefits, First National Health Care Limited, First National Benefits, First America Benefits, Financial Benefits Network, Grant Research Marketing, and Grant Management Network.
The East Avenue man was told he had to pay for the application on two separate credit cards, so he charged $300 to each.
He was supposed to get the paperwork for the grant in six weeks. When it didn't come, he was told it would take two more weeks.
He grew suspicious when he still didn't receive it.
But when he asked for his money back, he was hung up on and couldn't get in touch with the company again.
Trade Commission v. Grant Search, Inc., et al.
The Federal Trade Commission announced the settlement of this matter. The complaint alleged that the defendants operated a grant-matching business in which they falsely represented that consumers easily could obtain grants from charitable foundations for virtually any reason. The settlement bans the defendants from selling any product or service that purports to provide or assist consumers in obtaining a grant. In addition, the defendants have agreed to pay $296,000 in consumer redress. The FTC filed the complaint as part of the "Operation No Credit" financial fraud sweep.