Industry Canada

Industry Canada
Competition Bureau Canada

Competition Bureau Canada

September 05, 2007 13:12 ET

Competition Bureau Investigation Results in Jail Sentence for Deceptive Telemarketer

International partners work together to crack down on advance fee schemes

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 5, 2007) - Oleg Alex Oks and Aleksandr Oks of Richmond Hill, Ontario have pleaded guilty to criminal charges of deceptive telemarketing under the Competition Act following a Competition Bureau investigation. Oleg Oks, the principal director behind the pre-approved credit card scams, was sentenced to one year in jail and two years probation. Aleksandr Oks, also a director, received a six-month conditional sentence and 12 months probation. Both accused are prohibited for a 10-year period from engaging in any form of telemarketing.

"The jail sentence in this case sends a clear message to deceptive telemarketers that the Bureau and our partners will continue to vigorously pursue those who defraud the public, so that Canadians and those abroad can have confidence in our marketplace," said Andrea Rosen, Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Competition Bureau.

Between January 1999 and September 2005, the Oks ran their telemarketing operations in Toronto under a number of business names including Pacific Liberty, Pacific Liberty Group, Atlantic One Info Services Group, Liberty Sun Info Services, C&B Communications Group, Liberty Wide Info Services, Nationwide Credit Services, and other variations thereof.

The Oks' schemes involved targeting low-income Americans advising them that they had been pre-approved for Visa and/or MasterCard credit cards, for an up-front fee varying from $199 to $399 US. The victims were enticed into providing bank account and other personal information to telemarketers in order to obtain a credit card. Visa Canada, Visa USA and MasterCard International Inc. confirmed that they had no affiliation with the Oks' companies.

Other schemes offered a "free" computer with the purchase of Internet service for up-front fees varying from $269 to $299 US, plus monthly billing costs. Although the bank accounts of victims were debited, no one received the credit card or other promotions offered. The Bureau estimated that the Oks' deceptive telemarketing operations defrauded Americans of more than $5 million US.

The Bureau wishes to acknowledge the assistance of the Toronto Strategic Partnership in this investigation. Members include the Toronto Police Service, the Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP, Ontario Ministry of Government Services, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the UK Office of Fair Trading, and the Competition Bureau. The Bureau is also a member of four other international law enforcement partnerships, all of which are dedicated to combatting mass marketing fraud.

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that promotes and maintains fair competition so that all Canadians can benefit from competitive prices, product choice and quality service. It oversees the application of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.

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