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Montana family accused of $70M bogus phone charges

By The Associated Press
Published On: Jan 21 2013 12:29:23 PM MST
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HELENA, Mont. -

 A Montana family is accused of placing $70 million in bogus charges on customer phone bills nationwide since 2008.

A Federal Trade Commission civil complaint says Steven Sann, his wife Terry, son Nathan and accountant Robert Braach run a maze of nine companies engaged in "cramming," which is the practice of adding unauthorized charges to a phone bill.

The FTC is asking a judge to issue a preliminary injunction to force the Sanns to stop operating and freeze their assets.

Steven Sann is the founder of a western Montana youth camp. He also is awaiting sentencing for a drug charge related to his investments in medical marijuana businesses.

Sann's attorney, Sarah Rhoades, asked a judge Friday to stay the civil action because a federal criminal investigation is already under way.