Additional Canadian Citizen Charged In Telemarketing Scam
Ari Tietolman, 43, of Montreal, Canada, was charged in a Superseding Indictment1 with three counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering, announced Acting United States Attorney Louis D. Lappen. In addition, the Superseding Indictment added Adam Harper, 34, of Montreal, Canada, who is also charged with three counts of wire fraud and four counts of money laundering.
According to the Superseding Indictment, between 2005 and March 2014, Tietolman, Harper, and others used Tietolman’s network of telemarketers in Canada and India to target American senior citizens with deceptive telemarketing calls. They sold worthless or non-existent services and then debited the victims’ bank accounts without their informed consent. Using the business names Fraud Watch, Patient Assistance Plus, Legal Eye and Trust One, the worthless or non-existent services these telemarketers sold included purported fraud protection and discounted legal services, as well as a discount prescription card.
During the calls, Tietolman’s telemarketers allegedly made various false representations, such as that they were calling on behalf of, or were affiliated with, the victim’s bank, or insurance company, or the United States government. In addition to misrepresenting the value of the products being marketed, Tietolman’s telemarketers allegedly misrepresented the cost of these products, sometimes telling consumers the products were free, or less expensive than the amount that was ultimately debited from the consumers’ bank accounts. In other instances, Tietolman’s telemarketers allegedly assured consumers they would not debit the consumers’ bank accounts, and then did just that after the consumer provided their bank account information.
According to the Superseding Indictment, Tietolman and Harper attempted to conceal their involvement in the scheme by employing others to run “front” companies and process the fraud money. The sole purpose of these corporations was to process the fraud proceeds generated by the telemarketing scheme. Tietolman and Harper instructed others to open up numerous bank accounts in the United States in the names of the fraud companies that they had incorporated. Tietolman, Harper, and others controlled these United States bank accounts from Canada. Tietolman and Harper instructed others in the United States to deposit victims’ funds in batches of less than $10,000 to avoid federally-mandated reporting requirements. After the funds were deposited, Tietolman and Harper instructed others to wire the majority of the funds to accounts in Canada.
Tietolman and Harper face maximum possible sentences of 170 years in prison; three years of supervised release; a fine of $1.75 million or up to double the amount involved in the money laundering; and a $700 special assessment.
In March 2016, Marc Roy Ferry, 36, of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty in a related case to his role in running “front” companies in the United States for Tietolman and Harper.
The case was investigated by the FBI, IRS - Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Trade Commission, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vineet Gauri.
1 An Indictment, Information, or Criminal Complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed