Industry Canada

Industry Canada
Competition Bureau Canada

Competition Bureau Canada

September 27, 2005 14:04 ET

Competition Bureau Participates in Boiler-Rooms Take-Downs

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Sept. 27, 2005) - Action taken by Canadian and American law enforcement agencies has led to arrests and charges against telemarketing operators at four locations in Toronto and Calgary. All of the boiler rooms -- which have been shut down -- conducted similar scams of offering pre-approved credit cards to American consumers with poor credit history.

Criminal charges have been laid under the Competition Act and the Criminal Code against Aleksandr Oks and Oleg Oks, directors of a number of Toronto-area corporations, for allegedly victimizing U.S. citizens through various telemarketing scams. Seven search warrants were executed on September 22, 2005, by the Competition Bureau and members of the Toronto Strategic Partnership in relation to these operations.

Since 2001, the Oks have operated their corporations under a number of 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 Sky Rise Marketing.

The victims, mainly vulnerable Americans with poor credit history, were contacted by telemarketers offering them Visa or MasterCard credit cards, for an upfront fee of $279 to $319 (U.S.). The victims were enticed into providing bank account and other personal information in order to obtain the credit card. Visa and MasterCard in Canada and the U.S. have confirmed they have no affiliation with these companies. Although victims' bank accounts were debited, no one received the credit card or other promotions offered. It is estimated that the Oks' deceptive telemarketing operations allegedly defrauded Americans of more than $12.5 million (U.S.).

On September 26, 2005, the Toronto Strategic Partnership shut down a boiler room operating as Centurion Financial Services, and arrested several telemarketers. Charges have been laid under the Competition Act and the Criminal Code and the by the Toronto Police Service against the principals. (www.torontopolice.on.ca/newsreleases/)

Also yesterday, the Alberta Partnership Against Cross-Border Fraud shut down the Calgary-based operation of Centurion Financial Services and made several arrests. According to a news release issued by the Alberta Partnership, (www.calgarypolice.ca) telemarketers led consumer to believe that by paying $249 (U.S.), they would receive a pre-approved credit card with a limit of $2,000 (U.S.). Instead, they received applications for prepaid credit cards, brochures, coupons or nothing at all. For the most part, the victims were American, although the investigation is expected to reveal that there are some Canadian victims.

These boiler-room take-downs demonstrate that partnerships are a very effective way of combatting deceptive telemarketing and other fraudulent scams that transcend borders. Alerting consumers to this type of fraud and preventing them from being scammed is a priority for the Bureau and its partners.

The Competition Bureau is one of the founding members of the Toronto Strategic Partnership, which also includes the Ontario Provincial Police, the Toronto Police Service, York Regional Police, the RCMP, Ontario's Ministry of Government Services, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the UK's Office of Fair Trading.

The Alberta Partnership Against Cross-Border Fraud is a bi-national partnership of law enforcement agencies working in cooperation with one another to more effectively identify, prevent, investigate, combat and control deceptive marketing practices and fraudulent criminal activities originating from Alberta or impacting on Alberta. The partnership agencies include: Alberta Government Services, Calgary Police Service, Competition Bureau, Edmonton Police Service, RCMP, U.S. Federal Trade Commission and United States Postal Inspection Service.

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.

Contact Information

  • Competition Bureau (Media)
    Maureen McGrath
    Communications Advisor
    (819) 953-8982, or (613) 296-2187 (cell)
    or
    Competition Bureau (General)
    Information Centre
    (819) 997-4282 or 1-800-348-5358