By Jerri Stroud ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
The Federal Trade Commission has settled charges against the founders of NorVergence Inc., a company that defrauded hundreds of businesses, including dozens in the St. Louis area, in a telecommunications scheme that collapsed in 2004. Nonprofit groups, churches and towns also were victimized.
In a ruling on Monday, the FTC barred NorVergence founders Thomas N. Salzano and Peter J. Salzano from engaging in the fraud again and levied fines of $50 million against each of them. The Salzanos are brothers.
However, the fines mostly were suspended because the FTC believes the Salzanos are unable to pay. The agency will try to collect $10 million from Peter Salzano, who is in bankruptcy.
In the fraud, NorVergence salespeople told customers they could save money on telephone, Internet and cell phone service by using a "Matrix" black box.