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October 16, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Dish Network sues Yonkers man for $2M in customer scam

Dish Network says a Yonkers man has posed as a company representative to trick customers into paying him for unnecessary services.

Dish, a satellite pay-television provider based in Englewood, Colorado, sued Imtiyaz Siddiqi for $2 million in federal court in White Plains on May 17.

Siddiqi orchestrated a telemarketing scheme, the complaint states, “for the purpose of extracting payments from Dish’s subscribers.”

Efforts to contact Siddiqi for a response, by email and fax, failed.

Dish claims that Siddiqi has been defrauding its customers since at least early 2016. He allegedly called subscribers using various telephone numbers from a variety of area codes that displayed the Dish name on caller ID screens.

The lawsuit does not explain how Siddiqi identified Dish subscribers.

He used aliases, such as “Richard Bates” or “Terry James,” the complaint states, and he also used agents to make calls on his behalf.

He allegedly said he was a Dish representative or a representative of Global Communications or Global Telecommunications, fictitious companies that he described as Dish affiliates or authorized retailers.

The scam, as described in the complaint, rested on three key steps.

First, he had to persuade customers that if their equipment were not upgraded or adjusted, at their expense, they would lose television programming. He instructed them to email questions to dishnetwork@consultant.com, “further conveying his false association with Dish.”

Second, he had to trick Dish into dispatching a technician, the complaint states, “to impart an air of legitimacy to his scheme.” So he allegedly called the company while posing as subscribers asking for upgrades or equipment adjustments.

Third, he would recontact subscribers “again and again demanding payment and threatening to shut off their Dish services if payment was not made.”

He instructed customers to send payments to a Yonkers post office box, according to the complaint, or pay by credit card or debit card.

The scam worked hundreds of times, the complaint claims, and typically netted $150 per incident. In some cases, Dish installed new equipment. Sometimes, the subscriber terminated the contract.

Dish is accusing Siddiqi of trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising, tortious interference and unfair competition.