Three defendants charged in a multimillion-dollar telemarketing fraud scheme agreed to court-issued preliminary injunctions that will shut down the operation. The court also imposed a preliminary injunction against the final defendant, Ari Tietolman and his companies.
The operation targeted senior citizens across the U.S., scamming tens of thousands, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Those behind the scam allegedly lied to senior citizens to get their bank account information, which they then used to withdraw money from bank accounts, said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
The FTC alleges that the defendants conduct violated the FTC Act and the FTCs Telemarketing Sales Rule and that the operation drew in more than $20 million between May 2011 and December 2013.
Tietolman, the alleged leader of the telemarketing scheme, and his associates established a network of U.S. and Canadian entities to carry out the operation, according to a complaint filed by the FTC. 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. The cost for the defendants alleged services ranged from $187 to $397.
In some cases, the telemarketers impersonated government and bank officials, and enticed consumers to disclose their confidential bank account information. The defendants used that account information to create checks drawn on the consumers bank accounts. They then deposited these checks into corporate accounts they established in the U.S. The U.S.-based defendants then transferred the money to accounts controlled by the Canadian defendants, according to an analysis of bank records.
The other three defendants businesses include First Consumers LLC, Standard American Marketing Inc., and PowerPlay Industries LLC. First Consumers, LLC is a Pennsylvania company formed in 2010. Consumer complaints and bank records indicate that from at least June 2009 until June 2013, the company scammed consumers using its own name and three other names: Patient Assistance Plus, Legal Eye and Fraud Watch. The individual defendants are U.S. nationals: Marc Ferry, Charles Borie and Robert Barczai.
U.S. District Judge J. Curtis Joyner issued the injunctions to shutter the operations.