FTC shuts down scammers who targeted seniors

ID-100128578Everybody loves grandma and grandpa, right? Not everyone, apparently. Some folks just see them as a source of cash and will do anything to get it.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced that it has shut down a multi-million dollar telemarketing scam that targeted senior citizens among others.

Three defendants agreed to preliminary injunctions and a court imposed a preliminary injunction against a final defendant. The court found that the FTC would likely prevail and ordered funds to be frozen so they can be returned to victims of the telemarketing scheme.

The leader of the scheme was Canadian Ari Tietolman, according to the FTC. The alleged scammers set up a network of U.S. and Canadian entities to carry out the scheme, using a telemarketing boiler room in Canada. The defendants cold-called senior citizens, claiming to sell fraud protection, legal protection and pharmaceutical benefit services. The cost to victims ranged from $187 to $397.

According to the FTC, the telemarketers at times impersonated government and bank officials and convinced consumers to give up confidential information used to created checks drawn on their bank accounts. Money was then deposited into corporate accounts in the U.S. controlled by Canadian defendants.

Businesses involved in the scheme include First Consumers, LLC, Standard American Marketing, Inc., and PowerPlay Industries LLC.  Pennsylvania company First Consumers, LLC used its own name and three other names: Patient Assistance Plus, Legal Eye, and Fraud Watch.  The three other defendants who assisted in the scheme are U.S. nationals Marc Ferry, Charles Borie and Robert Barczai.