Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo marketing firm pays $350,000, settles complaints by Florida attorney general

A Largo area marketing firm has agreed to pay $350,000 to settle a complaint by the Florida Attorney General's Office that the firm obtained stolen consumer information and did not take proper steps to ensure data was acquired legitimately.

Although VICI Marketing LLC agreed to the settlement filed April 8, the firm's attorney said the company is not sure it even obtained stolen information in the first place.

"We don't have proof of that," said VICI's lawyer, Robby Birnbaum, a partner with Greenspoon Marder law firm, which has offices statewide.

VICI did not admit it broke the law, but agreed to take steps to confirm sources of information in the future and to ensure that data it acquires is obtained legally. The settlement was signed by company officers Scott G. Roix, Neil C. Williams and Robert Poitras.

"The judgment sets a new standard for telemarketers by requiring them to ascertain the legitimacy of their data sources through due diligence," the Attorney General's Office said Tuesday.

VICI complies with all applicable state and federal laws, Birnbaum said. But it agreed to the settlement because it "didn't want to fight with the Attorney General's Office," he said.

The civil settlement reimburses the Attorney General's Office for investigative costs related to the case and for future enforcement efforts.

VICI, based at 11515 66th St. N between Bryan Dairy and Ulmerton roads, indirectly acquired data stolen from Certegy Check Services, a St. Petersburg check verification company, according to the Attorney General's Office.

Last year, a former employee of Certegy was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison for stealing millions of Americans' personal financial information from a database and selling it.

The man, William "Gary" Sullivan, sold the information to a broker, who resold it or somehow disseminated it to VICI, the Attorney General's Office said.

From 2004, VICI obtained consumer data leads, including data stolen from Certegy, without taking the proper steps to make sure it was obtained legally, the Attorney General's Office said.

VICI "did not conduct any meaningful due diligence to ascertain the source of the consumer data, how and from whom the consumer data was lawfully obtained, and whether the source possessed any legal right to license or use the data," the Attorney General's Office said in the case.

VICI claims it stopped telemarketing to consumers on or about Dec. 30, 2007, according to the Attorney General's Office. The company, which now specializes in business-to-business sales, will be required to take certain actions if it decides to resume telemarketing to consumers.

VICI also paid $46,500 in fines after the Florida Department of Agriculture's Division of Consumer Services found 93 unlicensed salespeople working for VICI in 2007, according to the Attorney General's case. Some of the telemarketers had criminal backgrounds, including felony convictions for fraud and identity theft, the case said.

VICI also allegedly used consumer information in a telemarketing campaign that used deceptive tactics to enroll consumers in third-party membership programs, the Attorney General's Office said. Monthly fees ranged from $14.95 to $69.95, if consumers failed to cancel the memberships.

The Better Business Bureau, which gave VICI a C rating, processed eight complaints against the company in the last 36 months, according to its Web site.

Lorri Helfand can be reached at or (727) 445-4155.

Largo marketing firm pays $350,000, settles complaints by Florida attorney general 04/21/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 8:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  2. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire



    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, right, along with her mother Tranda Webb, 62, pose for a photograph Wednesday, at their home in Port Richey. Pasco's former boyfriend John Riggins doused Pasco with gasoline and set her on fire after an argument last year.. CHRIS URSO   |   Times

  3. Florida starter under center still under wraps


    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  4. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  5. Rick Kriseman picks Floribbean restaurant for Manhattan Casino

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG— Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen a controversial restaurant concept to occupy the Manhattan Casino, saying he made a decision 11 days before the mayoral primary because he didn't want politics to get in the way of progress in struggling Midtown.

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson speaks during a Friday press conference announcing that the Callaloo Group will open a Floribbean restraurant in the historic Manhattan Casino in St. Petersburg's Midtown neighborhood. Some residents were upset with Mayor Rick Kriseman's choice, saying it will speed up gentrification of the area. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]