Canadian Charged in Phone Scam

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U.S. authorities charged a Montreal man with running a telephone scam in which he posed as a bank officer and offered a large -- and nonexistent -- sum of money in exchange for fees, the U.S. attorney's office in Boston said yesterday.

David Chityal, 27, is alleged to have run this scam from September 2002 to October 2003, targeting victims in the United States and telling them they could obtain money being held for them in Canada only if they paid "taxes" or "fees," the U.S. attorney's office said.

Chityal sent false documents to victims to substantiate his claims, the U.S. attorney's office said. The amount of money Chityal is alleged to have taken was not disclosed.

In addition to fraud, Chityal was charged with witness tampering. According to the U.S. attorney's office, Chityal tried to arrange the killing of a witness in the investigation of his activities.

Chityal is in the custody of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police awaiting extradition to the United States. If found guilty, he faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on the fraud charge and 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on the witness-tampering charge.

Earlier this week, a U.S. district judge in Los Angeles sentenced Philip Arcand, 42, of Vancouver, British Columbia, to 12 years in prison on charges related to a bogus credit card protection scheme. According to prosecutors, Arcand processed credit card bills for telemarketing scams and also hired telemarketers to sell his own fraudulent product, targeting elderly U.S. consumers and taking $12.8 million.

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