FTC Orders Company That Swindled Tens Of Millions From Seniors To Pay $10M Judgment

We’ve said it too many times to count at this point, but scammers who take advantage of senior citizens are the worst. Today, the Federal Trade Commission made sure there was one less scammer out there by permanently barring the mastermind behind a multi-million dollar fraud from all future telemarketing activities.

The FTC announced a summary judgment [PDF] requiring Ari Tietolman and his related corporate entities to pay $10.7 million for their part in a two-country scam.

According to the FTC, Tietolman and his associates established a network of U.S. and Canadian entities that used a telemarketing boiler room in Canada to cold-call seniors claiming to sell fraud protection, legal protection, and pharmaceutical benefit services for $187 to $397.

The companies operated under the names First Consumers LLC, PowerPlay Industries LLC, Standard American Marketing, Inc, Landshark Holdings Inc., and Madicom, Inc.

A U.S. district court found that telemarketers working for the company deceived consumers to obtain their bank account information. In some cases, the FTC says, the telemarketers convinced consumers they were affiliated with banks or government agencies.

The fraudsters then used the bank information to debit consumer accounts without permission by creating checks drawn on the consumers’ bank accounts. Those checks were then deposited into corporate accounts set up by defendants in the United States. The money was eventually transferred from the U.S. to accounts in Canada.

The court found that these actions violated the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule.

In all, the court determined that the scheme caused seniors to lose $10,734,255.81, and awarded the FTC a judgment in that amount.

In addition to the monetary judgment, Tietolman and his corporate partners are banned from all telemarketing activities, using remotely created checks and payment orders, as well as prohibited from charging consumers without their express informed consent, and from making misrepresentation during the sale of any goods or services.

The FTC reports that last month two defendants in the scheme who were operating in the U.S., Marc Ferry and Robert Barczai, agreed to stipulated orders settling the charges against them.

Court Orders Ringleader of Scam Targeting Seniors Banned From Telemarketing [Federal Trade Commission’]