AUSTIN, Texas, NASHVILLE, Tenn., PHILADELPHIA and SHREVEPORT, La., April 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- RMH Cable, Inc., a national leader in cable TV, internet and phone service subcontracting subscription sales, says since April 2014 it worked closely with Louisiana's Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office in its identity-theft investigation of thousands of Comcast customers that were targets of a multi-million-dollar scheme that used their names to set-up unpaid fraudulent service accounts.
Late yesterday, warrants were issued for 10 accused cable TV subcontractor-sales people. They remain at-large.
A Nashville, Tennessee Comcast customer service representative has been arrested. She is accused of stealing customer information and providing it to subcontractor, door-to-door, sales people.
They are accused of setting-up local Louisiana residential accounts with out-of-state customers' names. Once the account applications were processed and approved, the subcontractor sales people received commissions of up to $200.
The sales subcontractors purportedly offered the Caddo Parish residents free cable service, according to the Sherriff's Office. However, existing, unsuspecting Comcast customers, in other states, were being held financially-liable for the not-for-free-at-all Louisiana services, including Comcast's $99 monthly Triple Play Special.
CEO & CUSTOMERS VICTIMIZED
"RMH Cable TV President and CEO Robert Haddaway is listed as a victim on the official investigation report, just like the 1,200 plus Comcast customers whose identities were stolen and repeatedly used to set-up more than 3,600 fraudulent accounts in Caddo Parish," emphasizes company spokesman Bryan Glazer.
Mr. Haddaway says, "RMH Cable TV paid-out more than $500,000 in commissions to subcontractors for apparently fraudulent Comcast sales agreements written in the Shreveport, Louisiana metropolitan area from January 2013 – April 2014 ." He adds, "I was robbed, Comcast was robbed, thousands of customers were robbed. The price tag: $3 Million, plus stained credit reports and reputations."
COMPANY ACTIVELY CO-OPERATED
Although Caddo Parish investigators say Comcast customers were slow to realize the fraud until they received collections notices, "RMH was quick to cooperate with law enforcement authorities -- routinely providing the Sherriff's Office with every document necessary to prove its case," says Mr. Haddaway.
He adds, "It is my understanding from investigators that when suspicious Comcast customers alerted the company of their concerns, they were eventually instructed to contact the Caddo Parish Sherriff's Office."
Mr. Haddaway says he was told, "Once the complaints started piling up, investigators realized they had a massive organized crime scheme unfolding. That's when I was called. My jaw dropped. Those subcontractors whom law enforcement had evidence of alleged involvement were immediately fired and we began an internal investigation."
RMH ABIDED BY COMCAST GUIDELINES
"Although the Shreveport-area sales subcontractors were not RMH Cable TV employees, our human resources department conducted background checks in accordance with Comcast policies," says Mr. Haddaway. "For more than 10 years RMH subcontracted for Comcast because we always meet and exceed our clients' requirements for professionalism."
FAMILY-MAN CEO'S BUSINESS CRIPPLED
"Mr. Haddaway is married with five children. He is considered by his friends, peers and competitors as an honest entrepreneur who is a pioneer in the cable TV industry; who helped it flourish in its infancy by identifying and enrolling subscribers," according to Glazer.
"I am saddened by the events in Louisiana, where we sought to bring discounted cable TV, internet and phone services to families that typically cannot afford them," says Mr. Haddaway.
"These affordable plans were created by Comcast and sold by RMH subcontractors. But they were never free – and that's where the scheme started – 'just sign here.' It is sickening."
Mr. Haddaway continues, "RMH wrote subcontracts with local sales people whom we had every reason to believe were trustworthy – people now accused of serious crimes that have impacted the lives of thousands of innocent people; that have caused Comcast significant loses. And, these crimes have crippled my family-owned business, which I built from the ground-up."
BILLING STATEMENTS IGNORED
Caddo Parish residents who were personally enrolled as Comcast customers by door-to-door salespeople, did receive billing statements in the mail but since the subscribers' names were not theirs; these customers ignored the monthly bills and did not pay for the services they received and enjoyed, according to investigators.
When the "real" Comcast customers started getting collections notices they started calling Comcast--the nation's largest cable TV provider -- complaining of identity-theft and fraud.
ACCUSED KINGPIN: TENNESSE COMCAST CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE
The Caddo Parish Sherriff's Office accuses a Comcast customer service representative in Nashville, Tennessee of collecting personal information, including Social Security numbers and banking and credit card information, from new subscribers that ordered from Comcast directly, via telephone.
The Comcast employee is accused of sending text messages with the new customers' information to the accused ring-leader of the Shreveport-area subcontracting sales forces.
With this information, the subcontractors filled-out applications for new customers in Caddo Parish. On the applications, the subcontractors put the local address of the new customer but put the name and financial information of an existing, out-of-state Comcast customer.
The subcontractors reportedly told the new customers they were receiving free cable tv, internet and phone services – and they just signed on the dotted line.
When the bills came to the Shreveport-area addresses, the residence ignored them, since their names were not on the statements.
It is unknown by RMH Cable TV if there is any connection between the Nashville Comcast suspect and Nashville-based Digital Tech. It is further unknown if the accused Nashville suspect was communicating directly with Digital Tech's Shreveport subcontractors or with RMH's Shreveport subcontractors or whether these competing sales people were collaborating together.
SCALES OF JUSTICE TIPPING ON ACCUSED CABLE CRIMINALS
"I hope it all comes out in open court," says Mr. Haddaway. "I anxiously wait the day that Louisiana's scales of justice are tipped against the guilty."
The Tennessee Comcast customer service employee has been arrested and charged with 107 counts of identity theft and other crimes, including conspiracy
Warrants for her 10 alleged co-conspirators have been issued. They are now on the U.S. Marshal Service's wanted list.
Mr. Haddaway now faces the painstaking challenge of rebuilding his business after spending a lifetime creating credibility for himself and his company in the cable, internet and phone services industries.
Caddo Parish Sherriff's Office News Release
President & Executive Producer
World Satellite Television News & Media Relations
212-673-4400 / 561-374-1365
SOURCE RMH Cable TV, Inc.