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Telemarketing Fraud Shut Down

07/03/03

On June 30, 2003, Boston Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Kenneth W. Kaiser and United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan announced that two men from Montreal, Quebec have been federally charged in connection with a fraudulent telemarketing scheme that cost American citizens over $5 million in a 2-year period. Posing as trustworthy officials, the accused allegedly notified their victims that they had won a large lottery or sweepstakes and need only pay an advanced payment to cover taxes, insurance, and other fees. These funds were then wired to addresses in Canada, or to offshore bank accounts.

Gilles Maisonneuve was arrested in Montreal; Mitchell Karachinsky, the alleged co-conspirator, remains at large. If convicted they could face up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the three charged counts. Boston SAC Ken Kaiser said about the investigation, "Counterterrorism is our first priority, but cases like this make a big difference in everyday lives -- protecting some of our most vulnerable citizens."

This multi-agency investigation is part of "Project Colt," a cross-border task force that partners the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, U.S. Customs Service, FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, ontreal City Police, and the Quebec Provincial Police.