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Federal authorities raid Bankcard Empire

April 14, 2010 6:37:22 PM PDT
A company that was the focus of a 7 On Your Side investigation gets raided by federal authorities in Arizona.

7 On Your Side first reported about a company called Bankcard Empire back in January. 7 On Your Side received complaints the company was charging customers thousands of dollars for business opportunities that never materialized. An elderly Bay Area man got caught up in the scheme and lost most of his life savings. Now, the owner of the company is in jail.

United States postal inspectors descended on the offices of Bankcard Empire in Phoenix Tuesday night, searching two locations. Company owner Leslie Mersky was arrested.

"This is a telemarketing business here and they offer some sort of a home business opportunity," said U.S. postal inspector Patricia Armstrong.

Bankcard Empire claims to sell credit card swiping machines, but authorities say it was actually selling phony business opportunities, ripping off thousands of victims across the nation.

"It was a get rich quick deal, so I [got] suckered in," said Max Parker from Pittsburg.

Parker, 94, is one of them. He lost $10,000 of his life savings to Bankcard Empire.

"Yeah, I wanted to make some money and they were going to make me some money," said Parker.

A telemarketer promised Parker big money if he would invest in his own business selling credit card swiping machines. Max paid the money, but never heard back.

"Zero nothing, not even a phone call," said Parker.

7 On Your Side's investigation found Bankcard Empire left a trail of unhappy customers and was kicked out of two states for operating this scheme.

"It's a lot of money, yeah, awful lot of money," said Parker.

Leslie Mersky is charged with felony fraud and 25 counts of forgery. He's the father of the company president, David Mersky, who spoke with ABC7 back in January. David Mersky insisted these job opportunities are legitimate.


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