Settlement talks set in major phone fraud case

YELLOWSTONE COUNTY

Associated Press
POSTED: 1:10 PM Sep 17 2013
BILLINGS, Mont. -

Government attorneys are entering into settlement talks with a Montana family accused of tacking $70 million in unauthorized charges onto phone bills nationwide.
    
The settlement conference is set for Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Missoula before Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch.
    
The Federal Trade Commission sued Steven Sann, his wife Terry, son Nathan and accountant Robert Braach in January for allegedly "cramming" unauthorized phone charges onto customers' bills.
    
The nine companies run by the Sanns are voicemail and electronic fax services that charge a customer's phone bill through an intermediary. The government says hundreds of customers were charged unknowingly.
    
The Sanns and Braach have said they took steps to prevent false charges.
    
Court documents show a criminal investigation is pending, although no charges have been filed.