The Federal Trade Commission has moved to close down a multi-million dollar telemarketing fraud that targeted U.S. seniors across the nation, scamming tens of thousands of consumers.
On March 18, U.S. District Judge J. Curtis Joyner issued a temporary order to halt the scam. Then, after a hearing on March 27, three defendants agreed to court-issued preliminary injunctions, and the court imposed a preliminary injunction against the final defendant, Ari Tietolman and his companies. In shuttering the scheme, pending trial, the court found that the FTC was likely to prevail and that funds should be preserved so they can potentially be returned to the victims of the telemarketing fraud scheme.
“The defendants’ conduct in this case was simply outrageous. They targeted and called senior citizens and lied to them to get their bank account information. Then they used this information to withdraw money from their bank accounts,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Consumers can count on the FTC to be aggressive in the fight against this type of fraud”
The FTC alleges that the defendants’ conduct violated the FTC Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule and that the telemarketing scheme drew in over $20 million dollars between May 2011 and December 2013.
The 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 three other individual defendants who assisted in the scheme are U.S. nationals: Marc Ferry, Charles Borie, and Robert Barczai.
The FTC received valuable help throughout this case from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Full story available on the FTC’s website