FTC plays hardball with Canadian con artist


The U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California was involved in the endgame, but the Federal Trade Commission brought the case before the courts, charging a Canadian national with using telemarketing techniques to defraud elderly Americans. A federal judge has sentenced the defendant to nine years in prison and ordered the payment of $4.6M to some 4.5K victims.

The man labeled a con artist by the FTC is John Raymond Bezeredi, who was found guilty of making “…phony claims about non-existent prizes and investments.” The judge accused Bezeredi of “cold, calculating, callous behavior.”

The FTC originally brought the case into the courts in 2007. By September of 2009, Bezeredi had pleaded guilty to one criminal count of mail fraud, “and admitted that he had targeted elderly victims with the telemarketing scheme.”

The defendant managed to attract cash from the elderly, but he also attracted a lot of attention from the enforcement community. According to FTC, in addition to its own efforts, it received help and cooperation from “Project Emptor, a cross-border law enforcement collaborative, Consumer Protection BC, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Competition Bureau, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Since we’re on the topic, we’d suggest that the use of telemarketing is way down. We have do not call on our home phone, and only rarely does a call slip through to that number. We have not bothered to append do not call to our relatively new business phone, and even though that makes the business line fair game, it gets only minimal traffic – not enough to worry about. If it had been an occasional rather than a pervasive marketing technique, perhaps the do not program wouldn’t have been created in the first place.