The FTC announced Monday that a U.S. District Court issued a temporary order to halt a scam that claimed to protect consumers from fraud but in reality defrauded millions of dollars from senior citizens.
In shuttering the scam, allegedly perpetrated by Ari Tietolman and his companies, First Consumers, LLC, Standard American Marketing, Inc., and PowerPlay Industries LLC, the court found that the FTC was likely to prevail at trial and that funds should be preserved so they could potentially be returned to the victims.
According to the FTC complaint, from May 2011 to December 2013 Tietolman and associates used a telemarketing boiler room in Canada 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 and $397.
In some instances, the telemarketers who carried out the scam allegedly impersonated government and bank officials, and enticed consumers to disclose their confidential bank account information.
The account information was used to create checks drawn on the consumers’ bank accounts and deposited into corporate accounts the scammers established in the United States.
“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,” Jessica Rich, Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a news release. “Consumers can count on the FTC to be aggressive in the fight against this type of fraud”
FTC Stops Mass Telemarketing Scam That Defrauded U.S. Seniors and Others Out of Millions of Dollars [Federal Trade Commission]