Industry Canada

Industry Canada
Competition Bureau Canada

Competition Bureau Canada

February 21, 2008 17:51 ET

Competition Bureau and Toronto Strategic Partnership Investigation Leads to Arrests in Secret Shopper Scam

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 21, 2008) - The Competition Bureau announced today that following a search conducted yesterday with its law enforcement partners in the Toronto Strategic Partnership, two operators of an alleged "Secret Shopper" scam have been arrested.

Christopher Nduka and Alicia Obermuller of Brampton, Ontario, operated an alleged counterfeit cheque scam out of their home by mailing letters to U.S. residents stating they had won a lottery or were selected to be a secret shopper. The recipients were instructed to deposit enclosed cheques and wire a portion of the funds back to the operators of the alleged scam. However, after the victims deposited the counterfeit cheques and sent the funds, the cheques bounced and victims lost their money. It is estimated that hundreds of U.S. residents have fallen victim to this alleged scam, and have been bilked at least $150,000 in total to date.

Nduka and Obermuller were arrested yesterday after officers found shredded copies of the "Secret Shopper" solicitation letters in their home. A cheque printer and blank cheque stock were also found. The two accused have been allegedly operating fraudulent schemes such as "The Advance Fee Lottery" and "The Secret Shoppers" since January 2005.

"The Bureau is pleased to have undertaken this enforcement initiative against mass marketing fraud in conjunction with its partners," said Andrea Rosen, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Competition.

The Bureau is one of the founding members of the Toronto Strategic Partnership, which also includes the Ontario Provincial Police, the Toronto Police Service, the RCMP, Ontario's Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, PhoneBusters, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the UK's Office of Fair Trading. The partnership is a multi-law enforcement agency, formed in response to ever increasing cross-border mass fraudulent marketing schemes.

The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency. We contribute to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.

Contact Information

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    External Relations and Public Affairs Branch
    Pamela Wong
    Communications Advisor
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    Competition Bureau
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