A Seattle scam artist victimized thousands of people by charging them money for prayers online through deceptive websites that featured fake ministers. He has now been ordered by a court to stop the practice and return every penny he took from his unwitting customers.
Benjamin Rogovy was ordered to repay as much as $7.75 million to about 165,000 duped customers. According to CBS News, his websites – christianprayercenter.com and oracioncristiana.org — made money by charging people between $9 and $35 for a prayer.
His scam even included fake ministers who purportedly assisted with religious ceremonies and consultations. The websites claimed to help solve a variety of problems from cancer to foreclosures.
Another scam website which Rogovy also ran, called the Consumer Complaint Agency, promised people to lodge complaints on their behalf. The website charged people up to $25 to forward complaints to companies.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson stated that Rogovy violated the state Consumer Protection Act after he collected over $7 million from consumers between 2011 and 2015.
“What I will not tolerate is unlawful businesses that prey upon people -taking advantage of their faith or their need for help in order to make a quick buck,” Ferguson said.
All those who bought prayer services from Rogovy’s websites between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2015 will be able to get full refunds by filing a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office until June 12, 2016.
For his complaint website, Rogovy has been ordered to repay around 40,000 victims nationwide a total of $750,000. Customers of that scam site will automatically receive refund checks.