This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Google Inc. has reached an agreement against one Utah company but named another in a lawsuit in which the Internet search giant alleges the two misused its name in a nationwide marketing scam that cost thousands of people millions of dollars.
Google, of Mountain View, Calif., reached agreement on a final judgment against Pacific WebWorks of Salt Lake City over the allegations it was behind a scam in which people were lured with websites that touted work-at-home opportunities falsely trading on Google's name. Once consumers signed up for "Google products" for a nominal fee, Pacific WebWorks and others use the same credit or debit cards to charge them as much as $79.99 a month for other services, which often turned out to be worthless, according to the lawsuit.
Pacific WebWorks also entered into a permanent injunction in which it agreed it would not misuse Google's name in the future.
Besides the company, the injunction also includes officers Kenneth W. Bell, Robert Brett Bell, William Marc Bell and Christian R. Larsen and their spouses, Roberta L Bell, Jillian Bell, Ashley A. Bell and Jennifer Larsen. Companies set up by the wives apparently were used as part of the scheme.
The settlement says each party would bear its own costs and attorney fees.
Pacific WebWorks CEO Kenneth Bell declined comment on the settlement.
Google corporate spokesman Andrew Pederson said the company was pleased with the outcome.
"We'll continue to investigate the issue and work to keep scammers from taking advantage of consumers by using our name or logo illegally," said Pederson.
Google recently added Bloosky Interactive to the lawsuit. The company is registered in Utah, Nevada and California.
According to the Google lawsuit, Bloosky promised "$200-$907 per day to anyone with a computer and basic typing skills" and used the Google name and logo to help persuade people to give up their credit card numbers.
Bloosky's company registration in Nevada lists Blair Jackson of South Jordan as its managing member. He also is listed as the manager on the company's Utah registration.
Jackson, an attorney, did not return a voice mail left on his office answering machine. Numbers listed for Bloosky in Provo were answered by a recording saying they were temporarily unavailable.
According to allegations made in a lawsuit filed in Illinois, Pacific WebWorks, Bloosky Interactive and Intermark Communications of New York worked together with marketing campaigns that included fake news articles and blogs to drive customers to websites that took their credit card numbers. Revenues were shared by the companies, according to the lawsuit.
Intermark and Pacific WebWorks have denied the allegations in the Illinois lawsuit. Bloosky has yet to respond. At least three other proposed class action lawsuits are pending against Pacific WebWorks.