The Maryland attorney general’s office said Monday it has joined a nationwide crackdown on deceptive income schemes, and taken action to halt a number of questionable investment opportunities.
The operation is led by federal, local and state law enforcement officials, including some from Maryland.
In the second quarter of this year, the FTC received reports of 11,879 income scams — a 70% increase from same period a year earlier, according to the agency. It said in a news release that the scams included “work-from-home and employment scams, pyramid schemes, investment scams, bogus coaching courses and other schemes that can end up costing consumers thousands of dollars.”
According to Frosh’s office, Maryland’s recent cases include one Dec. 4 in which its securities division issued a cease-and-desist order against promoters and sellers of “an allegedly fraudulent investment scheme called AirBit Club.” The state alleges the club targeted members of the African immigrant community, promising returns for participating in a cryptocurrency trading program and recruiting other members.
The division issued a similar order in October citing the sale of “New York City Bagel & Sandwich Shop” franchises by operators who allegedly violated state law by not disclosing a history of civil judgments and state law enforcement orders against them.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to turn to other options to earn a living,” Frosh said in a written statement. ”Promises of easy income or large returns on investment should always be met with skepticism.”