Canadian man imprisoned in massive telemarketing scheme

Canadian man imprisoned in massive telemarketing scheme

Telemarketing
A headset hangs on a cubical wall. (File photo: AFP/Getty Images/William Thomas Cain)

LOS ANGELES: A Canadian man was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison Monday (Sep 10) by a California judge for running a telemarketing operation that defrauded at least 60,000 people, most of them elderly, out of more than US$18 million.

Mark Eldon Wilson, 57, of Vancouver, British Columbia, was sentenced by US District Judge S James Otero following a five-day trial in March.

The jury found him guilty of mail and wire fraud for having masterminded a cross-border scheme that targeted American victims by selling them a bogus credit card protection service.

In sentencing Wilson to 135 months in prison, Otero noted the scope of the scheme and the fact that the victims targeted were mostly elderly people.

Prosecutors argued that between 1998 and 2001, Wilson and his telemarketers sold non-existent protection for about US$300 each to more than 60,000 victims in 37 US states, including California.

Wilson used part of the money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included buying luxury boats, a fleet of cars and gambling trips to Las Vegas.

He also set up an offshore bank account in the South Pacific to hide a portion of the money, prosecutors said.

Wilson fought extradition from Canada to the United States for more than 10 years and was finally brought to the US in February of last year.

Source: AFP/na

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