FTC Accuses Canadian Telemarketers of Illegal Lottery Ticket Sales

The Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint yesterday against three Toronto telemarketing firms it accused of illegally selling Canadian lottery tickets in the United States.

The FTC charged the three companies with violating federal law, including the Telemarketing Sales Rule and FTC Act, by falsely claiming in marketing pitches to U.S. seniors that it is legal to buy and sell foreign lottery tickets. A U.S. district court in Chicago has frozen the U.S. assets of the companies and temporarily barred them from telemarketing, the FTC said.

The companies charged by the FTC include Growth Plus International Marketing Inc., Gains International Marketing Inc. and Ploto Computer Services Inc.

The companies told consumers they were affiliated with the Canadian government and that their chances of winning were good, according to the FTC complaint. Telemarketing agents related stories of U.S. citizens who had purchased lottery tickets and won, the FTC said.

The FTC has asked the court to permanently bar the companies from continuing their telemarketing campaign and is seeking restitution for consumers who bought foreign lottery tickets. A search of telephone information records in the Toronto area revealed no listings for Gains International and Ploto Computer Services. Calls to Growth Plus International were not returned yesterday.

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