Five Alberta Individuals Sentenced in Deceptive Telemarketing Scheme
Ottawa, August 30, 2011 — The Competition Bureau announced that five individuals were sentenced by an Alberta court for their involvement in Ambus Registry Inc., a cross-border deceptive telemarketing scheme promoting business directories.
The individuals have been convicted of deceptive telemarketing under the Competition Act and of committing fraud over $5,000 under the Criminal Code of Canada. The names of the individuals convicted and their respective sentences are:
- Garther Cheung and Sukhraj Singh Chana, co-founders of the company, were each sentenced to one year for each of three counts of deceptive telemarketing and to two years in a federal penitentiary for committing fraud over $5,000, all time to be served concurrently.
- Pritpal Chana and Ranjit Sangha, both managers of the company, were each sentenced to 16 months for each of three counts of deceptive telemarketing and 16 months for committing fraud over $5,000, all time to be served concurrently. The first eight months will be served as house arrest and the remaining eight months on probation.
- Andrea Kyweriga, also a manager, was given a suspended sentence and placed on two years probation after being convicted of two counts of deceptive telemarketing and one count of fraud over $5,000.
- The five individuals are also prohibited from doing any act or thing that would be directed toward the deceptive telemarketing offence being committed or repeated for the next 10 years.
A sixth individual, Sarah Schaefer, pleaded guilty in 2007 and received a $15,000 fine.
The Bureau's investigation found that, over a three-year period, Ambus telemarketers used an "assumed sale" technique to defraud over 10,000 businesses, government agencies, educational institutions and not-for-profit agencies in the United States. The technique involved a sales pitch that led telephone recipients to believe that a sale had already taken place, and that their business was legally obliged to complete the purchase. It was estimated that the company's fraudulent operations amounted to over $3.75 million in losses for the victim businesses.
This investigation was conducted with the assistance of the Alberta Partnership Against Cross-Border Fraud, a partnership of law enforcement agencies of which the Bureau is a member, that includes: Alberta Government Services, the Calgary Police Service, the Edmonton Police Service, the RCMP, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.
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