Canadian Ringleader of Cross-Border Telemarketing Scam Barred from Business
The ringleader of a telemarketing scam that conned senior citizens out of more than $10.7 million has been barred from doing business.
The judgement came as a result of a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleging that Ari Tietolman and his corporate associates illegally withdrew money from U.S. consumers' accounts and funneled it across the border to Canada.
Tietolman and his associates established a network of U.S. and Canadian entities to carry out their scam. 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 even 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 these remotely created checks into corporate accounts set up by defendants in the United States, thus debiting consumers' accounts without permission. The U.S. -based defendants then transferred the money to accounts in Canada.
The court found that these actions violated the FTC Act and the agency's Telemarketing Sales Rule. The court found that Tietolman's scheme caused more than $10.7 million in consumer harm and awarded the FTC a judgment for that amount.
In addition to the monetary judgment, the court's orders bar Tietolman and the corporate defendants from all telemarketing activities, ban them from using remotely created checks and payment orders, prohibit them from charging consumers without their express informed consent, and bar them from making misrepresentation during the sale of any goods or services.