Don’t Mess With Seniors: Court Slaps Telemarketing Scammer With $10.7 Million Penalty

Photo (cc) by Julian Carvajal

Nearly a year after the Federal Trade Commission shut down a multimillion dollar phone scam targeting seniors, a U.S. district court has imposed a judgment of $10.7 million and permanently barred the operation’s ringleader from telemarketing activities.

According to the FTC, Ari Tietolman headed up a cross-border telemarketing operation that cheated tens of thousands of American seniors out of more than $20 million. The seniors were tricked into purchasing phony fraud protection, legal protection and pharmaceutical benefit services, which ranged in price from $187 to $397.

The elderly consumers were conned into divulging their personal bank account information. “The defendants then used consumers’ bank information to create checks drawn on the consumers’ bank accounts,” the FTC said. The money was eventually transferred to Canada, where Tietolman lives.

Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection, said in a statement:

Callers working for Ari Tietolman lied to older people and took their money without permission. Their actions were abhorrent. We’re gratified that the court banned Mr. Tietolman from any future telemarketing and awarded over $10 million.

The corporate entities involved in the scam include First Consumers LLC; PowerPlay Industries LLC; Standard American Marketing, Inc.; 1166519075 Quebec Inc., doing business as Landshark Holdings Inc.; and 1164047236 Quebec, Inc. d/b/a Madicom, Inc.

Marc Ferry and Robert Barczai also participated in the scam, the FTC said. They settled their charges in February.

Learn how to protect yourself from phone scams.

Have you been a victim of a telemarketing scam? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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