Zer01 Mobile Faces Lawsuit From Former Partner

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Zer01 Mobile, the company that promised to launch an unlimited, contract-free mobile service in July, has been sued by a former partner.

Global Verge, a multilevel marketing firm that recruited people into a program to sell the mobile service, claims that Zer01 owes it US$170,500, according to the suit.

Both companies have been the subject of scrutiny. Zer01 has yet to launch a mobile service, although it continues to market the service at mobile trade shows and events. Global Verge enticed people to pay a monthly fee in order to sell the mobile service that never became available. Both companies are led by executives with previous or current legal problems.

Filed in the District Court in Clark County, Nevada, the suit claims that Global Verge began lending money to Zer01 after Ben Piilani, CEO of the company, said it was having financial problems and trouble with a shareholder.

On July 29, Global Verge said it wired $150,000 to Teonna Poloa, the shareholder. It had already loaned $20,500 to Zer01, the suit said.

Poloa could not be reached for comment. She is listed as the managing member of TNV Enterprise with the secretary of state for Nevada. TNV appears to be an escort agency that has not yet opened. TNV's Web site is registered to Piilani and his umbrella company, Unified Technologies Group.

Poloa has had legal trouble before. In 2006, she pled guilty to a gross misdemeanor for receiving or possessing stolen goods in the District Court in Clark County.

Zer01 could not comment on the lawsuit on Tuesday. Troy Dooly, a blogger who follows the multilevel marketing industry, posted the lawsuit, which was filed in October, on his Web site.

Global Verge has begun selling an unlimited mobile service, called Global Mobile 1, but some customers say it's not unlimited. On message boards, some people say that after signing up for the $80-per-month unlimited service, they discovered they are actually using a $40-per-month limited plan sold by a company called Page Plus Cellular.

A representative for Page Plus Cellular said that the company does not have a relationship with Global Verge. Page Plus makes wholesale deals with master agents who are then authorized to sell the service, said Lisa, a member of Page Plus management who declined to give her last name. Page Plus provides customer service to end-users.

She said that a master agent may be selling the service to Global Mobile 1 customers. She was unaware of any complaints from Global Mobile 1 users.

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