More than $175,000 has been recovered and will be released to consumers across the country who were defrauded in a 1998 Canadian-based telemarketing scam, Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett said yesterday.
Corbett said U.S. District Court Chief Judge Sylvia H. Rambo awarded final judgment in his lawsuit against Sushila Devi Kumar, also known as Sheila Kumar, and Sandhya Murthi, also known as Kelly Williams. Kumar and her British Columbia-based company did business under the names Systems 3 Marketing Inc., SMI or Systems Marketing.
The defendants were accused of engaging in the illegal sale of foreign lottery tickets via telephone in the United States. According to the lawsuit, mostly elderly consumers were called to encourage them to participate in a lottery “pool” that would enhance their chances of winning large prizes from the Australian Lottery.
Consumers said they were asked to pay various amounts to buy a share in a lottery ticket or series of tickets. Some were told that they had already won and were encouraged to roll over their winnings in the lottery pool.
The funds were recently released following a protracted bankruptcy proceeding in British Columbia, where the scam originated.