Five Montreal-area men are accused of orchestrating a telemarketing fraud that allegedly scammed seniors for hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to U.S. prosecutors.
The indictment alleges that, from 2013 to September 2015, the defendants, from locations in Montreal and Toronto, contacted victims throughout the United States, claiming that the victims owed money for magazine subscriptions.
The callers claimed to be calling from companies such as “Magazine Readers,” “Global Readers,” and “American Reader Services,” according to a U.S. Department of Justice release.
According to the indictment, the callers threatened the seniors, saying that their credit rating would be affected and that they could be sued if they didn’t pay.
Prosecutors say in a news release Tuesday that the men, who are from Montreal’s West Island, continued to call victims who did pay, telling them they had additional debts.
The accused, between 26-37 years of age, face a total of 10 U.S. charges, according to prosecutors. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The charges, filed in Los Angeles, are tied to phone calls targeting residents of California.
The men are believed to be in Canada and have not yet been arrested, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.
Prosecutors say the alleged offences have been investigated by both the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the U.S. Secret Service, which is responsible, among other things, for combating financial fraud.