American Standard Online, is a California-based corporation that operated under several different names, including the following: MDSQ Productions, LLC; Housing Standard, LLC; Anchor House Financial, American Standard; American Standard Online; and Your American Standard Online. (For ease of reference, this company is referred to as “American Standard” throughout the remainder of this document, regardless of what specific name the company was using at any particular time).
American Standard is a Real Estate scam, which targeted prospective home buyers/renters throughout all 50 States in the United States and the District of Columbia. The government has alleged that the overall scam bilked more than 100,000 consumers out of more than $27 million dollars. There were at least 105 victims in twenty-two (22) of the thirty-eight (38) counties comprising the Southern District of Illinois.
American Standard purported to be a program through which customers could purchase houses at prices substantially below market value. American Standard generated business by placing advertisements in various publications, including Craigslist. The Craigslist represented that certain houses were available for sale or rent at favorable prices. The ads did not provide addresses and directed the readers to call American Standard for more information. When the customers called to ask about a house shown in an ad, the salesperson followed a script that was provided by the company. The customer was further told that they would need to purchase for $199 American Standard’s “listing of houses” in order to obtain information about the house shown in the ad. The customer was told that purchasing this list would give access to houses that were in pre-foreclosure or financial distress. In addition, the customers were told that they could simply “take over the existing mortgage payments” and the deeds to the houses would be transferred to the customers.
After the customers paid the $199 fee, they learned that the houses on American Standard’s list were not available to be purchased. Instead, the customers found that a substantial number of the addresses contained on the list were fictional and/or no houses existed at those locations. In numerous other cases, the customers learned that the houses were not in pre-foreclosure or financial distress, and were not available to be purchased at below market prices. If the customers asked for more information about the houses they had seen on Craigslist, American Standard’s Customer Service Department informed them that the houses were no longer available.
This is being investigated by the St. Louis Field Office of the Chicago Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service office.
Since there are a very large number of victims in this prosecution, these cases may be designated as “Multiple Crime Victim” cases by Court Order under the provisions of 18 U.S.C. §3771(d)(2). Accordingly, the principal means of communicating and consulting with the investigators and government lawyers regarding these cases will be through a designated email for victims. If you are a victim, and wish to contact us, please send an email to USAILS.VW_ILS@usdoj.gov (link sends e-mail), and provide your full name, mailing address, telephone number, and email address. Given the large number of victims in these matters, and our need to efficiently manage our multiple victim prosecutions, we ask that you communicate with us by email. If necessary, we can have someone respond to you by telephone.
To any victim who plans to attend any Court proceeding:
Victims have the right to attend public Court proceedings, subject to some limitations as determined by the Court. For many reasons Court proceedings may be cancelled or rescheduled on short notice. If you are planning to attend a scheduled hearing, please check this web site for any updates before coming to Court.
Title 18, United States Code, Section 3771(a) provides:
A crime victim has the following rights:
(1) The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
(2) The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public Court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
(3) The right not to be excluded from any such public Court proceeding, unless the Court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
(4) The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district Court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
(5) The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
(6) The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
(7) The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
(8) The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.
United States Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois
9 Executive Drive
Fairview Heights, Il 62208