Chester County Man Pleads Guilty To Telemarketing Scam
PHILADELPHIA - Marc Roy Ferry, 35, of Downingtown, PA, pleaded guilty today to one count of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering in connection with a telemarketing scheme that bilked tens of thousands of senior citizens out of more than $13 million. U.S. District Court Judge Gerald A. McHugh, Jr. scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 22, 2016.
According to court documents, between 2009 and March 2014, Ferry and Ari Tietolman, charged elsewhere, 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. Tietolman and others, it is alleged, had been running the scheme since at least 2005.
During the calls, Tietolman’s telemarketers 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 also 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 assured consumers they would not debit the consumers’ bank accounts, and then did just that after the consumer provided their bank account information.
Tietolman allegedly attempted to conceal his involvement in the scheme by employing defendant Marc Roy Ferry and others to run “front” companies - including First Consumers, LLC - and process the fraud money. Ferry admitted that Tietolman paid him and others to form corporations in the United States. The sole purpose of these corporations was to process the fraud proceeds generated by the telemarketing scheme. Tietolman, according to court documents, instructed Ferry and others to open up numerous bank accounts in the United States in the names of the fraud companies that they had incorporated. Ferry sent Tietolman online logins and passwords so Tietolman and others could control these United States bank accounts from Canada.
Tietolman allegedly sent Ferry and others bank account information for the victims in the United States. Using computer programs and printers allegedly provided by Tietolman, Ferry and others used the victims’ bank account information to print remotely created checks (“RCCs”), in the United States. The RCCs were all made payable to the fraud companies and did not require a signature by the account holder. Because these RCCs did not require the account holder’s consent each time a check was created and submitted to the bank for payment, the account holder-victim had no opportunity to object or prevent the debit from occurring. Ferry and others deposited the RCCs in bank accounts held by the fraud companies, allegedly per Tietolman’s instructions. Tietolman, according to court documents, instructed Ferry and others to deposit the RCCs in batches of less than $10,000 to avoid federally-mandated reporting requirements. After the checks were deposited, Tietolman instructed Ferry and others to wire the majority of the funds to accounts in Canada.
Ferry faces a maximum possible sentence of 70 years in prison; three years of supervised release; a fine of $750,000 or up to double the amount involved in the money laundering; and a $300 special assessment. Ferry will also be ordered to pay restitution to the victims.
The case was investigated by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 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.