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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 01, 1996
AG's Office 'Pulls Plug' on Illegal Telemarketing of Canadian Lottery


SEATTLE Using a 30-year-old federal law to combat a consumer problem of the 1990's, the Washington State Attorney General's Office has pulled the plug on a telemarketing scam involving several major Canadian lottery ticket sellers.

Long distance telephone service to World Project Management Ltd. and C-W Agencies, LTD, both British Columbia-based telemarketers, has been disconnected after the Attorney General's Office notified telecommuni cations companies that federal statutes require telephone service to be disconnected when lines are used for gambling activities.

Attorney General Christine Gregoire said her office has received hundreds of complaints about high pressure sales, junk mailings and unfulfilled ticket orders from residents in Washington.

Consumers from throughout the state reported contacts from telemarketers purporting to offer shares in the Canadian lottery and other foreign lotteries. Until earlier this month, those complaints were handled primarily on an individual basis.

"Our investigators found these companies were targeting the elderly, and we found they were taking them for thousands of dollars," Gregoire said.

The AG's Office contacted MCI and AT&T and informed them that under a federal law they are required to discontinue or refuse services to businesses which use their lines to transmit gambling information. The law, passed by Congress in 1961, traditionally has been used to stop bookmaking operations.

Assistant Attorney General Paula Selis and Consumer Representative Susan Ragen handled the case for the AG's Office.

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Contact: Paula Selis, Assistant Attorney General (206) 464-7662
Janice Marich, AG's Public Affairs Office (206) 464-6432

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