February 7, 2014 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau
The Competition Bureau announced today that Matthew Hovila, of Edmonton, Alberta, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail for operating an online job opportunities scam.
Mr. Hovila was sentenced to 15 months in jail for contravening the criminal false or misleading representations provisions of the Competition Act and an additional 15 months in jail for breaching a court order. Mr. Hovila also pleaded guilty to being in possession of proceeds of crime under the Criminal Code and was sentenced to one more year in jail, to be served concurrently. Another hearing is set for June 4 and 5 in relation to restitution to the victims of the online job opportunities scam.
In June 2013, Mr. Hovila was found guilty under the Act of making materially false or misleading representations with respect to finding employment in the oil and gas industry on his former website www.oilcareer.com and of contravening a consent agreement registered with the Competition Tribunal.
This is the first time the Bureau has obtained a conviction for the contravention of a registered consent agreement. Mr. Hovila was convicted of breaching a 10-year consent agreement signed with the Bureau in 2006 regarding the same website and he paid a $100,000 administrative monetary penalty. At that time, Mr. Hovila admitted he had violated the Act’s civil false or misleading representations provision and agreed to cease the conduct and notify the public. Consent agreements that are registered with the Tribunal have the same force and effect as a court order.
- In 2011, Mr. Hovila was arrested for breach of consent agreement following an investigation by the Bureau as part of its broader monitoring program regarding compliance with court orders, including registered consent agreements.
- While businesses are responsible for complying with the Act in general, and more particularly consent agreements they are party to, the Bureau’s order monitoring program helps ensure compliance with all court orders, including registered consent agreements.
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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.