Home >

May 12, 2017

For More Information, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Steve Marshall
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Page 1 of 2
Alabama Attorney General

(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Steve Marshall announced the State of
Alabama and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have obtained an order
temporarily halting a technical support scam that tricked consumers into believing their
computers were infected with viruses and malware, and then charged them hundreds
of dollars for unnecessary repairs.
The FTC and the State of Alabama jointly filed a complaint in the U.S. District
Court for the Northern District of Alabama against Trothsolutions Inc., Trothsolutions
LLC, Quickkonto LLC, Crazy Bee Man of Palm Beach Inc., Edoorways International
Corp., Escue Energy, Inc., and Airoways LLC, as well as individual defendants Madhu
Sethi and Ila Sethi. The Sethis are a husband and wife who operate the businesses out
of their home in Boca Raton, Florida, and offices in Birmingham and Huntsville.
The State of Alabama and the FTC have obtained a temporary restraining order
and a preliminary injunction to halt the practices, freeze assets, and appoint a
temporary receiver to take control of the business of the defendants. The court entered
the temporary restraining order on May 1, 2017, and the preliminary injunction on May
10, 2017. According to the FTC and the State’s complaint, the defendants have collected
at least $2 million from consumers.
This case is part of a major international crackdown on tech support scams called
Operation Tech Trap, announced today in partnership with the FTC and other federal
and state agencies. Most of the scammers targeted in Operation Tech Trap followed a
similar pattern of misconduct.
“The actions of these defendants were extremely convincing to unsuspecting
victims who were led to believe that they faced severe computer crises that could only
be averted by immediately paying for very expensive services,” said Attorney General
Marshall. “The defendants manufactured false catastrophes and used panic-inducing
tactics to defraud consumers of outrageous sums of money.”
501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300
www.ago.state.al.us Page 2 of 2

According to the State’s complaint, the defendants solicited victims either by
phone or through pop-up messages, and particularly targeted senior citizens. The pop-
up messages were designed to trick consumers into thinking their computers were
infected with viruses, malware and other problems, and urged them to call a toll-free
number for help. Once consumers called the toll-free number, they were connected to a
call center and pitched by telemarketers who claimed to be affiliated with well-known
technology companies such as Microsoft or Apple.
Consumers were told that in order to diagnose the problem, they must provide
the telemarketers with remote access to their computers. After gaining access, the
telemarketers purported to run a series of “diagnostic tests” that inevitably revealed the
existence of grave problems requiring immediate repair by one of their “certified
technicians.” Through these high-pressure tactics, the defendants persuaded
consumers to pay hundreds of dollars for unnecessary computer repair services, service
plans, anti-virus protection or software, and other products and services.
“Defendants’ entire business is predicated on fraud,” the complaint states. “They
are not affiliated with or certified by Microsoft or Apple. Their pop-up ads are
incapable of identifying problems with consumer’s computers and are themselves a
form of malware. These ads are part of an elaborate and highly deceptive ruse designed
to trick consumers into believing, without any basis, that their computers are in
expensive need of repairs and software that only Defendants are capable of providing.”
Among the alarming tactics used were the appearance of a screen similar to what
is commonly known as the “blue screen of death” and dire warnings that the loss of the
victim’s data, including all documents and pictures, was imminent, and that private
financial information was being exposed. “At every step of this process, Defendants
psychologically manipulate consumers into believing that they are dealing with a
trusted source, such as Microsoft or Apple, and that their computers are at risk,” the
complaint states.
Attorney General Marshall commended attorneys and investigators from his
Consumer Interest Division for their excellent handling of this matter.
The Court appointed as receiver of the defendant entities a Florida attorney,
Jeffrey C. Schneider, who is a partner in the group of Levine Kellogg Lehman Schneider

  • Grossman LLP. Victims may contact him by calling 305-403-8788.