Three Atlanta publishers of business directories charged with fraud

Three Atlanta publishers of business directories charged with fraudAccording to the reports, three publishers of business directories have been charged in Atlanta with cheating customers who thought they were buying ads in the telephone Yellow Pages.

The Florida Times-Union has reported that Federal prosecutors say Stuart Smith, Christopher Jon Gregory and Marian Phelan, who operated United Directories and Yellow Pages United in Jacksonville, Fla., sent out material, soliciting ads, that was designed to deceive. While the solicitations said in small print that the directories were not affiliated with local telephone companies, they used the "walking fingers" logo, which is not a registered trademark.

The three allegedly brought in $425 million in ill-gotten gains.

It has also been reported that lawyers for the three point to the language denying any connection to telephone companies. They also say prosecutors are wildly overstating the revenue that came in from ads.

Curtis Fallgatter, a former federal prosecutor representing Smith, said, "Unbeknownst to the federal prosecutors, this company has been in compliance with all the rules."

The report also noted that the three were arrested last week and released Tuesday on bond. (With Inputs from Agencies)