At least one Canadian schemer selling unauthorized listings and advertisements in non-existent business and travel directories to U.S. businesses has been brought to justice.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says it has obtained a $2 million summary judgment against an Ontario-based operation that, it says, defrauded U.S. businesses out of millions of dollars.
According to the FTC's complaint filed in October 2006, four defendants in Ontario operated a scheme that targeted businesses and municipalities in the United States, and a related scheme aimed at hotels and resorts in this country and more than 25 others.
The court order requires Michael Robert Petreikis to pay $2 million in redress for victims and bans him from marketing or selling business or travel directories and listings. The order also bars him from misrepresenting that consumers have a preexisting business relationship or that consumers purchased, have agreed to purchase, or owe money for business or travel directory ads or listings, office supplies, or consulting services.
In addition, Petreikis is prohibited from collecting payments on any invoices the defendants sent prior to the court order, and from disclosing or benefiting from personal information obtained as a result of activities alleged in the FTC's complaint. The order also contains record-keeping and reporting provisions to allow the FTC to monitor compliance with the order.
The FTC investigated this case with the assistance of the Toronto Strategic Partnership, which, in addition to the FTC, includes the Toronto Police Service Fraud Squad, Telemarketing Section; the Ontario Provincial Police, Anti-Rackets Section; the Ontario Ministry of Government Services; Canadas Competition Bureau; the Royal Canadian Mounted Police; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and the United Kingdoms Office of Fair Trading.