Complaint Review: Grant Strategy Solutions
Grant Strategy Solutions (Called by Marie Pearce), Grant Solutions, LLC, an Arizona Corporation Multi-layered SCAM! Phoenix ARIZONA
. T1P Markco is not a company that I agreed to do business with, but is apparently a ‘clearing house’ for Grant Solutions, LLC of Arizona. Allow me to explain in lurid detail…
On June 6, 2016, I received a telephone call from a Marie Pearce representing Grant Solutions, LLC. She presented the possibility of me applying for two home improvement grants that are offered by Private corporations. They were in the amounts of $85,000 and $60,000 respectively. She explained in detail that these two grants were non-taxable, and that they were a 60/40 split (meaning that 60% had to be spent directly on the home improvements, and 40% would be mine to spend as I wished).
She further explained that I would need to establish a separate bank account for each grant so that any audit inquiries could verify the spending. For the $85,000 grant, their fee would be $6,000, charged as $3,000 up front and $3000 by invoice. For the $60,000 grant their fee would be $2,250 up front and $2,250 charged by invoice. She said that if I sought both grants, the combined fee would be reduced to $7,000 with $3,500 charged up front and $3,500 charged by invoice. This is what I agreed to be charged, seeking only home improvement grants.
She continued by telling me that Grant Solutions, LLC was an Arizona corporation, and was listed with the Arizona Corporations Commission. As we were speaking, I looked them up on line and verified with her that Arizona Corporations Commission had them with the member number L10296264, and she confirmed at that time that this was the correct listing for the company that she represents. My home was in escrow at that time, and I was unable to make any large purchases until the escrow closed on June 22, 2016. We agreed to speak on that date, and she gave me her phone numbers and e-mail address: Phone (844) 539-****, extension 6; Customer Service (480) 665-****, and e-mail I cannot post here per the site rules.
I called her on June 22, 2016 and told her that the escrow had closed that morning, and that we could move forward with this project. She told me that they would charge my VISA card through their “merchant account” for $3,500 on June 22, 2016. They did process the charge.
Here is where the nightmare begins:
June 27, 2016 at 3:50 p.m. Pacific Time
I received a phone call from a Shawn Kelly (sp) for “Federal Grant Approval”. He gave me his phone number (602) 386-****, and a Customer Service number of (800) 244-**** (NOT Grant Solutions, LLC). He briefly discussed my grant application with Grant Solutions and then eluded to a discussion of my credit card balances. He told me that if I had 80% of my balances used, that I could apply for federal grants to pay them off!
At that time, my balance with VISA was just over $8,000 and my MasterCard account with Citibank was paid in full. He asked for my credit limits, and I told him what they were. He advised me to “allow him to make charges to my accounts through his merchant account, approximately $2,600 to my VISA account and $4,500 to my MasterCard account. Then, I was to make only minimum payments for about two months while he processed the grant applications to the Federal Government, and that the monies charged to my accounts would be held “in an escrow account, to be returned to me upon receipt of the grant monies”.
I asked him very directly if this constituted fraud, and he said, “No, we do this all of the time”. He then told me that I was already pre-approved for the grant money and gave me a tracer number, and a password . I did not authorize this action, as I wanted to research it further. I spoke to a friend that is a paralegal, and she said “DO NOT do this… IT IS FRAUDULENT! You could go to prison!” I attempted to call Mr. Kelly three times that same day, and did not get any answer! I did leave him messages.
June 27, 2016 about one hour after I spoke to Shawn Kelly
I received a call from a Samantha Williams that had the same Customer Service number ((800) 244-****) that Mr. Kelly gave me, and again, this is NOT the same number for Grant Solutions, LLC! As we spoke, she gave me her e-mail address (omitted per rule) and a reference number to complete the application for the Federal Debt Relief Grants, and that my case was “no longer pending”. She told me to “log into Right Signature account to review this document in my secure archive”. I never pursued this, as Mr. Kelly had not called me back to discuss my concerns over this particular matter.
Shawn Kelly called me back on June 29, 2016 and left me a message that “if I don’t hear from you by the end of business today, the credit card grants are cancelled, and that the total funding for my grants (the ones applied for through Grant Solutions, LLC) would be reduced by $14,000! I called Marie Pearce at (what I thought was) Grant Solutions, LLC and left her a message to call me back, telling her that Shawn Kelly is saying that my funding would be reduced if I did not apply for these Federal Debt Relief Grants.
June 30, 2016 at 9:42 a.m. Pacific Time
Marie Pearce called from (855) 539-****. I told her in that conversation that the credit card grant applications were a ‘no go’ because I am not comfortable with how it was being done. She assured me that would NOT affect the grants that we had originally discussed for $85K/$60K. I was too upset to continue the conversation, and don’t remember the rest of the dialogue, but the call ended very soon after this exchange.
June 30, 2016 at 9:52 a.m. Pacific Time
Shawn Kelly called from (602) 368-****. I confirmed that I would not go forward with applying for any Federal Grants. He told me again that funding for my original $85K/$60K grants would be reduced because of this decision. I told him that Marie Pearce told me a very different story (the refusal of Shawn’s offer would not have any bearing on my grant awards).
He raised his voice at that time and stated that “Marie is not an underwriter and had no idea what she was talking about”. He would not listen to me at all. I yelled over him and told him, “do not steamroll me!”. He continued to speak to me in an elevated tone and told me in so many words that he had other clients that needed his attention. I finally hung up on him.
June 30, 2016 at 10:06 a.m. Pacific Time
I called Marie Pearce at (844) 539-**** and reported the above conversation in the message, and asked her to call me back.
July 14, 2014 at 1:55 p.m. Pacific Time
I received a call from a woman identifying herself as “Mercedes from Integrity Business Solutions (510) 957-****. I asked her what her business represented, and she said that “they were a legal and financial tax firm that grant companies have to report to”. She was a fast talker, and she wanted to “review my debt to income ratio”. She wanted me to disclose all of my monthly debts, etc… So I told her what she wanted to know. Then she asked me for all of my credit card numbers… I gave them to her. Then I got unnerved and hung up.
July 14, 2016 at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time
I received a call from a Charlie Stanfield from (801) 925-**** stating that this call was coming from Seattle, Washington. NOTE: (801) area code is Salt Lake City, Utah! My caller ID said that it was American Fork, Utah (I immediately recognized the area code from a friend’s phone number!). Mr. Stanfield said that he was from the “Prime Department”, and he was calling about my grants. When I asked what company he represented, he repeated “I am with the Prime Department and I am calling to assist you with your grants”.
With some trepidation, I listened briefly while he described how he was going to assist me with development of my web-based business and establishment of an S-Corporation. (This is not what I signed up with Grant Solutions, LLC to do!) I told Mr. Stanfield that I wasn’t interested in setting up an online business or an S-Corporation, and ended the call abruptly.
July 14, 2016 immediately after hanging up with Mr. Stanfield
I called Marie Pearce at (844) 539-**** Ext. 6 and left her a message outlining the above calls (7/14) from Mercedes and Charlie Stanfield.
Marie called me back shortly thereafter, and told me “do not talk to Mercedes or Charlie Stanfield. We do not know who these people are. Call Sabrina at (888) 371-**** and give her your PIN number”. (Note: this is the first time that anything made even a little sense, as this is the same PIN number given to me by Shawn Kelly!). My notes on this call ended here because I was driving at the time, but as I recall, I called Sabrina and left a message for her to call me.
Note: It was during this call that Marie Pearce mentioned “GSS”, and when I questioned this, she said it was “Grant Strategy Solutions”. I have not been able to identify this particular company name in either the Arizona or Utah corporations’ listings!
July 15, 2016 (time not noted)
I received a call from Nick Olsen (sp) at (801) 770-****. Mr. Olsen requested the same exact information that Mercedes from Integrity Business Solutions had requested days before. I told him that Marie Pearce advised me not to speak to anyone but Sabrina.
He hung up and I called Marie Pearce back and left her a message to call me. Marie called me back immediately. Marie told me that she got in trouble for telling me not to talk to these people and that it was okay for me to speak to Charlie Stanfield and Nick Olsen.
My notes at this point are abrupt and broken, but continue…
I spoke to Nick Olsen again and he asked for the last four numbers of my Social Security Number, and my VISA and MasterCard numbers complete with CVV numbers. He then told me that he was transferring me to the “Development Department”. I was then greeted by Mr. Kevin Gates. He explained in a breathy conversation that he was going to set me up in an online business and “Develop my web presence with a web page” (Again, not what I ever intended to do!).
When I asked him point blank what this was going to cost me, he said it “would only be $3,600” to develop this website. I very abruptly said, “NO WAY am I doing this!” He then said that he “was not some gay customer service agent for Verizon or Sprint…” and I hung up on him mid-sentence! Approximately 15 minutes later, Kevin called me back and identified himself to me. I told him immediately that “there is nothing that I want to hear from you or that I want to say to you”, and hung up.
At this time, I had to leave my house and was driving and received another call from a man that said he was “the President". I asked him, “President of what?” He was elusive, and said again that he was “the President” and that he realized that one of his employees was unethical with me and wanted to make things right. He also told me in that conversation that he “listened to the recording of the call” between myself and Kevin Gates.
I was not able to make extensive notes on this call, but do remember that he actually offered to develop a website for me “without cost”. I told this man in so many words that my trust in everyone was completely shattered and that I really did not want to talk about it. He said that he understood, and that he would “Call me back in about one week”. I never heard from him again.
July 15, 2016 at 11:00 a.m.
I received a call again from Mercedes at Integrity Business Solutions. I told her that I had tried to call her many times before, but the number that she gave me was requesting a PIN code to access the system. She gave me her direct line (509) 270-****. (NOTE: The original number that I have for Mercedes is a (510) area code from Oakland, CA and (509) is an area code from Spokane, Washington area!) I explained to Mercedes very calmly what all has gone down, including one e-mail that I have sent to Marie Pearce (see bullet point, below). She told me that “once the $3,500 that I paid Grant Solutions, LLC in fees was verified, I would have a “claim”. I told her that “all I want is for someone to tell me the truth for once!” Mercedes then told me that “finance will call you within 10 to 15 minutes”.
July 15, 2016 at 11:14 a.m.
I received an incoming call with no caller ID from an Eric Archer, representing Integrity Business Solutions. He then told me that they were a tax firm, and wanted to know what they could do to help in my process. I was astounded! I asked him to tell me exactly what was going down here, and to tell me the truth about what has to be done. He went on to explain that with grant applications, private corporations 'could give out grants', but they would only receive tax credit for the amount of the grant if it was a personal home improvement grant, and that I would not have a good chance of receiving the money promised.
He continued to explain that if a corporation gave a grant to an S-Corporation, it would “maximize their tax deduction” and that they receive a 4 to 1 tax credit, and that it was "in my best interest to open an S-Corporation to better my chances of receiving any grant monies". I then asked Eric what his firm wanted me to pay and for what. He said that IBS would charge me a fee of $1,600 to “manage my S-Corporation” (Again, not what I intended to do!)
Note: None of this information was ever disclosed to me by Grant Solutions, LLC, OR GSS (Grant Servicing Solutions, the company that Marie Pearce ‘let slip out’ during a prior conversation!) Eric Archer then gave me his personal cell phone number of (619) ***-**** (this number is a San Diego, CA based phone number, and the two previous numbers from his firm were from Oakland, CA and Spokane, WA!) and told me that if I had any questions or wanted to move forward with this process, to call him.
On July 19, 2016 I called Marie Pearce and left her a message that I wanted my $3,500 refunded and that I felt that I was not being dealt with fairly. I went on in this message to tell her how disappointed I was that she would not talk to me, and that I would wait “until Friday morning to hear from her before I took further action”. I called Marie Pearce again on July 20 and July 21, 2016 and left messages for her to call me back! She never called me.
On July 20, 2016 after my second message, I sent Marie Pearce an e-mail:
- Marie, this is Leonard Slape. I have reached out to you by phone on Friday, Saturday and this Monday asking you to call me so that we can find resolve to this debacle. I cannot put into words how disappointed I am that you are stonewalling me, and this is not professional. I feel justified in asking for my $3,500 payment to be refunded.
- When we first talked, we discussed that you found two grants”: One for $85,000 and another for $60,000 that were 60/40 splits for home improvements. Then came the phone call from Shawn Kelly that told me I would receive less money unless I applied for federal relief grants on my credit cards. That we discussed already, and I feel that what he was telling me to do was unethical at the very least, so I did not go through with it. Then, a phone call from “Mercedes, at Integrity Business Services” who claimed she worked for a Legal and Financial Tax firm that grant companies have to report to.
- When she asked me for my credit card numbers and the last four digits of my Social Security number, I was stifled. I called you and you told me hot to talk to her! I haven’t since then. Then, the phone call from Seattle, from a Charlie Stanfield, who said he was with your “Prime Department”. You also told me not to talk to him, and then called me the next morning and told me that you received an e-mail and that you got in trouble for telling me not to talk to these two individuals.
- The last call I got was from a man maned Nick Olson (sp) that asked me for the SAME information that Mercedes did. I told him that you said not to talk to him, and then I got a call from his manager, Kevin Gates. My conversation with him was heated, and when he insisted that I needed to “develop an on-line presence for business”, and that my chances of getting the two grants that you and I first discussed were next to nil, ad that with an on-line business front, I would have a better chance. I told him that I did not want any part of that, but he kept on telling me that “for $3,600, he would develop my web page!” I said “absolutely not” and then he told me that he “was not some gay customer service rep from Sprint or Verizon”, and I hung up on him!
- That is when I called you and told you that I wanted my money refunded. Ten minutes later, Kevin called me back to talk, but I told him that I wanted nothing to do with him, nor did I have anything to say to him. I received a call from a man about 15 minutes later that said he was “the President”. I asked, “President of what?” He was elusive, and restated that he was “the President”, and that he realized Kevin was unethical with me and wanted to make things right, and assured me that he would “deal with the issue”. He offered to call me back in one week to continue this venture, but I have not heard one word back from him… or you!
- I am asking you politely one more time to process the refund of the $3,500 to my VISA card. I will wait until Friday morning to hear from you. If this matter is not resolved, I will be contacting our local NBC affiliate’s Investigative Reporting division and spilling my guts to them, turning over my notes and phone records. I trust that we can conclude this peacefully, but do know that I will follow through with the above mentioned actions on Friday. I am sorry to have to take this position, but I have been knocked around lie a ping pong ball. This is not right!
I reported this matter to Barclays Bank VISA Fraud Department as a fraudulent charge on July 22, 2016. The funds in question were temporarily removed from my statement, and then a few days later, the fraud claim was apparently reversed and forwarded to your disputes department. The funds are still showing as due and payable. I called and inquired as to why this happened, and with a few phone calls, I was able to get a woman on the line that explained that I would have to write this summary and submit it via FAX and start the dispute process over again. She also explained that the first conclusion is that “the MERCHANT in question (T1P Markco) has not violated any rules of the cardholder agreement! Their sole purpose is to act as a clearing house for a company that I am alleging is engaged in Deceptive Business Practices!!!
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/07/2016 11:18 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/grant-strategy-solutions/internet/grant-strategy-solutions-called-by-marie-pearce-grant-solutions-llc-an-arizona-corpo-1332091. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content
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