A British Columbia man has been sentenced to eight years in a United States prison for operating a Canada-based telemarketing scam that took in more than $7 million from American senior citizens.
Timothy Ryan Babuin, 30, of Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada, was sentenced in Los Angeles federal court yesterday by United States District Judge Dean D. Pregerson. In addition to the prison term, Judge Pregerson ordered Babuin to forfeit more than $1.5 million in ill-gotten gains in order to provide partial restitution to the hundreds of victims of the scheme.
The sentencing stems from Babuin’s operation of the Vancouver-based North American Gaming & Gambling Holdings, Ltd. As part of the scheme, Babuin hired telemarketers to “cold call” American senior citizens and convince them that for a one-time payment of $1,200 to $5,000 they would receive a bond that was guaranteed to provide income of $5,000 to $12,000 a month for 24 months. Babuin would then send the elderly victims documents that purported to be British National Savings bonds, but were actually worthless.
Canadian authorities seized property from Babuin, including a luxury condominium, a Dodge viper and bank accounts containing hundreds of thousands of dollars. This property was sold, and the proceeds will be distributed to the victims of the crime.
At Monday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Pregerson recognized that Babuin’s scheme involved large numbers of vulnerable victims, and he imposed the maximum sentence. As part of a plea agreement with United States prosecutors, Babuin waived extradition proceedings from Canada and agreed to come to the United States to plead guilty to wire fraud, accessory after the fact, and mailing lottery tickets and related materials.
The case against Babuin was the product of an investigation by Project Emptor, a joint American-Canadian task force operating in British Columbia. This task force, which includes members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the British Columbia Business Practices and Consumer Protection Authority, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Trade Commission, and the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, investigates telemarketing fraud committed by Canadians against American senior citizens.
CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Ellyn Marcus Lindsay
Release No. 05-029