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Canadian Firm Settles Scam Charges

A Canadian company has settled U.S. Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally marketed fraudulent British lottery bonds to American consumers.

BBM Investments Inc., Vancouver, offered consumers tax-free, no-risk National Premium Savings Bonds issued by National Savings, the United Kingdom's second-largest savings institution, for $1,000 to $3,000. The representations made by the firm in its offer were false, and consumers who bought the purported bonds received nothing, the FTC said in its complaint.

In an agreement announced Thursday, BBM Investments accepted a ban on selling lottery-related goods and services. The company admitted to no wrongdoing and had no money to reimburse consumers, though the agreement lets the FTC reopen the case if the company has misstated its financial situation.

Buying foreign bonds with a lottery feature is illegal in the United States, the FTC said. Only National Savings is authorized to sell Premium Savings Bonds.

The FTC said it received assistance from the British Columbia Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Consumer Services Division, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Vancouver Commercial Crime Section.

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