CHARLESTON -- Attorney General Darrell V. McGraw Jr. has shut down a Canadian advanced fee loan scam operating under the name Global Capital Solutions, according to a release from his office.

McGraw's office learned of this scam last week after his Consumer Protection Division began receiving complaints from consumers across the country. Consumers who had been ripped off were calling the West office because Global Capital Solutions represented that it was located at 180 Capital Street in Charleston - an address that does not exist.

Consumers complained that they were contacted by Global after submitting online loan applications. Some consumers applied for a loan directly on Global's Web site. Others filed applications on another major lender website who apparently referred the loan to Global.

Global told consumers they were approved for loans through "private lenders", private individuals willing to invest their money by making small loans to other private individuals. Global also told consumers that before they could receive any loan proceeds they must wire lump sum advanced payments by Western Union to the private lender.

All of the "private lenders" were located in Canada. Global told the consumers that their loan proceeds would be direct deposited into their bank accounts after their deposit was received. However, after wiring their advanced payments, consumers did not receive the loan proceeds and Global stopped responding to their telephone calls and emails.

Global sent some consumers fake certified checks that appeared to be drawn on a Bank of America account. These consumers were instructed to deposit these checks into their personal checking accounts, then withdraw a portion of that money and wire it to the private lender in Canada. At least one consumer deposited the fake check, wired the money, and is now in debt to his bank for $3,500, the amount of the fake check.

Working in conjunction with Allan D. Weiss, a solicitor and barrister with Kronis, Rotsztain, Margles, Cappel in Toronto, McGraw's office was able to get Global Capital Solutions' toll free telephone number - 1-800-228-9861 - disconnected on Thursday, March 16.

McGraw's office also shut down Global's Web site - Any consumer accessing this site will now be alerted to Global's fraudulent activities and redirected to McGraw's office's Web site for more information. Global's Web site and telephone number only had been in operation for six weeks.

"Canadian authorities have linked the majority of advance fee loan scams originating from that country to organized crime," McGraw said in the release. "When consumers submitted the loan applications, they provided the bogus company with their social security numbers, bank account numbers and photocopies of their drives licenses. These consumers are now prime candidates for identity theft.

"My office had to move quickly to protect more innocent consumers from being victimized by this scam. Our fast and hard response to this scam sends a very clear message that West Virginia will not be haven for these international thieves."

For more information, contact the AG's Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808 or by downloading a complaint form at the AG's Web site.

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