A U.S. district court has banned the ringleader of a multi-million dollar fraud that targeted seniors from all telemarketing activities after he agreed with the Federal Trade Commission’s allegations that he withdrew money illegal from consumers’ bank accounts and funneled it to Canada.

The summary judgment against Ari Tietolman and the related default judgment against associated U.S. and Canadian corporate entities also impose a $10.7 million penalty.

Tietolman and his associates, according to an investigation, built a network of U.S. and Canadian entities to carry out their operation. The defendants used a telemarketing boiler room in Canada, where Tietolman lives, to cold-call seniors claiming to sell fraud protection, legal protection and pharmaceutical benefit services for $187 to $397.

The court found that Tietolman’s telemarketers deceived consumers to obtain their bank account information. Sometimes the telemarketers convinced consumers they were affiliated with banks or government entities. 

The defendants then used consumers’ bank information to create checks drawn on the consumers’ bank accounts. They deposited the “remotely created checks” into corporate accounts set up by defendants in the U.S., thus debiting consumers’ accounts without permission. The U.S.-based defendants then transferred the money to accounts in Canada.

"Callers working for Ari Tietolman lied to older people and took their money without permission," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. "Their actions were abhorrent. We’re gratified that the court banned Mr. Tietolman from any future telemarketing and awarded over $10 million."The corporate defendants in the case include First Consumers LLC; PowerPlay Industries LLC; Standard American Marketing Inc.; 1166519075 Quebec Inc., doing business as (d/b/a) Landshark Holdings Inc.; and 1164047236 Quebec, Inc. d/b/a Madicom Inc.

The court’s orders permanently bans Tietolman and the corporate defendants from all telemarketing, from using remotely created checks and payment orders, from charging consumers without their express informed consent and from making misrepresentation during the sale of any goods or services.

The court found that the illegals actions violated the FTC Act and the agency’s Telemarketing Sales Rule. The court found that Tietolman’s scheme caused $10,734,255.81 in consumer harm and awarded the FTC a judgment for that amount.

Last month, two defendants in the scheme who were operating in the U.S., Marc Ferry and Robert Barczai, agreed to stipulated orders settling the charges against them.

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