UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
AT SEATTLE

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION,
STATE OF ARIZONA, and
STATE OF WASHINGTON,
Plaintiffs,

v.

WIN USA SERVICES LTD.,
IRAL SERVICES INC.,
IRAL ENTERPRISES INC.,
MICHAEL GHIRRA, and
BOBBY GHIRRA, Defendants.

Civil No. ____________

COMPLAINT

Plaintiffs Federal Trade Commission ("FTC" or "Commission"), the State of Washington and the State of Arizona for their Complaint allege:

1. The FTC brings this action under Sections 13(b) and 19 of the Federal Trade Commission Act ("FTC Act"), 15 U.S.C.  53(b) and 57b, and the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act ("Telemarketing Act"), 15 U.S.C. 6101 et seq., to secure a permanent injunction, rescission of contracts, restitution, disgorgement, and other equitable relief for defendants' deceptive acts or practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a), and the FTC's Trade Regulation Rule entitled "Telemarketing Sales Rule" ("the Rule"), 16 C.F.R. Part 310.

2. Plaintiff, the State of Washington, brings this action under Section 4(a) of the Telemarketing Act, 15 U.S.C.  6103(a), and under the Washington Unfair Business Practices-Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86, and the Washington Commercial Telephone Solicitation Act, RCW 19.158.

3. Plaintiff, the State of Arizona, brings this action under Section 4(a) of the Telemarketing Act, 15 U.S.C.  6103(a) and under the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, A.R.S. 44-1521, et seq.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE

4. Subject matter jurisdiction is conferred upon this Court by 15 U.S.C. 45(a), 53(b), 57b, 6102(c), 6103(a) and 6105(b) and 28 U.S.C. 1331, 1337(a), and 1345.

5. Venue in the Western District of Washington is proper under 15 U.S.C.  53(b) and 6103(a) and 28 U.S.C.  1391(b), (c), and (d).

PLAINTIFF

6. Plaintiff, the Federal Trade Commission, is an independent agency of the United States Government created by statute. The Commission enforces the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 41 et seq., and the Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 C.F.R. Part 310, which prohibits deceptive or abusive telemarketing acts or practices. The Commission may initiate federal district court proceedings to enjoin violations of the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule and to secure such equitable relief as is appropriate in each case, including restitution for injured consumers. 15 U.S.C.  53(b), 57b, and 6105(b).

7. Plaintiff, the State of Washington, is one of the fifty sovereign states of the United States. The State of Washington is authorized to initiate federal district court proceedings to enjoin telemarketing practices that violate the Commission's Telemarketing Sales Rule, and, in each such case, to obtain damages, restitution, and other compensation on behalf of residents of the State of Washington, and to obtain such further and other relief as the court may deem appropriate. 15 U.S.C.  6103(a). The State of Washington is also authorized to enjoin violations of the Washington Unfair Business Practices-Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86, and the Commercial Telephone Solicitation Act, RCW 19.158, and to obtain such damages, restitution, civil penalties and other compensation and relief as the court may deem appropriate.

8. Plaintiff, the State of Arizona, is one of the fifty sovereign states of the United States. The State of Arizona is authorized to initiate federal district court proceedings to enjoin telemarketing practices that violate the Commission's Telemarketing Sales Rule, and, in each such case, to obtain damages, restitution, and other compensation on behalf of residents of the State of Arizona, and to obtain such further and other relief as the court may deem appropriate. 15 U.S.C.  6103(a). The State of Arizona is also authorized to enjoin violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, A.R.S. 44-1521, et seq., and to obtain restitution, civil penalties, attorney fees, and such other relief as the court may deem appropriate.

DEFENDANTS

9. Win USA Services Ltd. ("Win USA"), is incorporated in British Columbia, ("B.C.") Canada. Its office and principal place of business is at 6982 Palm Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. Win USA maintains mailing addresses at 116 101 1001 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C.; Box 380 2416 Main St., Vancouver, B.C.; P.O. Box 2249 Stn. Main, Vancouver, B.C.; 170 125A 1030 Denman St., Vancouver, B.C.; Box 207, 8155 Park Road, Richmond, B.C.; 534 140 8380 Lansdowne Street, Richmond, B.C.; and 365 185 9040 Blundell, Richmond, B.C. Win USA has transacted business in the State of Washington and throughout the United States.

10. IRAL Services Inc. ("IRAL Services") is incorporated in British Columbia, Canada. Its office and principal place of business is at 6982 Palm Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. Its registered office is at 2100 1075 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, B.C. IRAL Services has transacted business in the State of Washington and throughout the United States.

11. IRAL Enterprises Inc. ("IRAL Enterprises") is incorporated in British Columbia, Canada. Its office and principal place of business is at 6982 Palm Avenue, Burnaby, B.C. Its registered office is at Suite 230, 14500 River Road, Richmond, B.C. IRAL Enterprises has transacted business in the State of Washington and throughout the United States.

12. Michael Ghirra is Director of Win USA, IRAL Services, and IRAL Enterprises. At all times relevant to this Complaint, acting alone or in concert with others, he has participated directly in, or has had authority to control, the acts and practices of Win USA, IRAL Services, and IRAL Enterprises, including the acts and practices set forth in this Complaint. Michael Ghirra has transacted business in the State of Washington and throughout the United States.

13. Bobby Ghirra manages IRAL Services and/or IRAL Enterprises (hereinafter referred to collectively as "IRAL"). At all times relevant to this Complaint, acting alone or in concert with others, he has participated directly in, or has had authority to control, the acts and practices of IRAL, including the acts and practices set forth in this Complaint. Bobby Ghirra has transacted business in the State of Washington and throughout the United States.

COMMERCE

14. At all times relevant to this complaint, defendants' course of business, including the acts and practices alleged herein, has been and is in or affecting commerce, as "commerce" is defined in Section 4 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  44.

DEFENDANTS' BUSINESS PRACTICES

15. Win USA and IRAL, which also operate under the name "International Canadian Lottery Services" or "ICLS," deceptively and illegally telemarket chances and interests in foreign lottery tickets to United States residents, particularly the elderly. Defendants induce consumers to participate in foreign lotteries (e.g., Australia and Spain) either by purchasing lottery tickets or by paying defendants a "processing" or other fee to receive purported lottery winnings. Purchases may be for individual tickets or for pooled purchases in which the consumer purportedly buys a share in a ticket or series of tickets.

16. During telephone solicitations, defendants make false and misleading representations to induce the purchase of lottery tickets or payment of money. For example, they have represented that:

a. the consumer has been specially selected as one of a small group to play for a large cash award;
 
b. the consumer's odds of winning a large cash award are 1 in 6, or otherwise very good, or guaranteed;
 
c. the consumer's chances of winning are enhanced by purchasing through Win USA and IRAL;
 
d. the consumer has won and will receive a large cash award;
 
e. in order to receive the award, the consumer must pay hundreds or thousands of dollars of "processing" or other fees.

17. Contrary to defendants' representations, consumers who purchase from defendants are not specially selected as one of a small group to play for a large prize, the odds of winning anything in the foreign lotteries are small, consumers' chances of winning the Australian lottery are not enhanced by purchasing through Win USA or IRAL, and consumers do not receive the promised cash awards, regardless of whether they pay processing or other fees to defendants.

18. Prompted by defendants' false statements and misrepresentations, consumers, many of whom are elderly, pay defendants hundreds or even thousands of dollars, sometimes borrowing money or otherwise straining their finances, in the expectation of winning. Consumers who pay receive nothing but a "confirmation letter" informing the consumer: "You may WIN and receive a certified check for up to $10,000,000 U.S. CASH! One Lump Sum! Tax free! Your odds of winning are only 1-6! That is FANTASTIC! GREAT! THE BEST!"

19. The sale and trafficking in foreign lotteries is a crime in the United States. Defendants fail to disclose to consumers that by participating in the foreign lotteries, consumers are participating in violations of federal criminal law, including laws prohibiting the importing and transmitting of lottery materials by mail and otherwise, 18 U.S.C. 1301 and 1302, and anti-racketeering laws relating to gambling, 18 U.S.C. 1952, 1953, and 1084.

VIOLATIONS OF SECTION 5 OF THE FTC ACT

20. Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a), prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.

21. Misrepresentations or omissions of material fact constitute deceptive acts or practices prohibited by Section 5(a) of the FTC Act.

COUNT ONE
(By Plaintiff Federal Trade Commission)

22. In numerous instances, in connection with telemarketing foreign lottery tickets to consumers, defendants have represented, expressly or by implication, that the consumer is likely to win a large cash award if the consumer purchases lottery tickets from defendants.

23. In truth and in fact, the consumer is not likely to win a large cash award if the consumer purchases lottery tickets from defendants.

24. Therefore, the representation set forth in Paragraph 22 is false and misleading and constitutes a deceptive act or practice in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a).

COUNT TWO
(By Plaintiff Federal Trade Commission)

25. In numerous instances, in connection with telemarketing foreign lottery tickets to consumers, defendants have represented, expressly or by implication, that consumers who pay defendants hundreds or thousands of dollars in "processing" or other fees will, as a result, receive a large cash award.

26. In truth and in fact, consumers who pay defendants hundreds or thousands of dollars in "processing" or other fees do not, as a result, receive the promised large cash awards.

27. Therefore, the representation set forth in Paragraph 25 is false and misleading and constitutes a deceptive act or practice in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a).

COUNT THREE
(By Plaintiff Federal Trade Commission)

28. The sale and trafficking in foreign lotteries is a violation of federal criminal law, including laws prohibiting the importing and transmitting of lottery materials by mail and otherwise, 18 U.S.C. 1301 and 1302, and anti-racketeering laws relating to gambling, 18 U.S.C. 1952, 1953, and 1084.

29. In numerous instances, in connection with telemarketing foreign lottery tickets, defendants fail to disclose that the sale and trafficking in foreign lotteries is a crime in the United States.

30. Therefore, defendants' failure to disclose this material fact is deceptive, and violates Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  45(a).

VIOLATIONS OF THE TELEMARKETING SALES RULE

31. In the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act ("Telemarketing Act"), 15 U.S.C. 6101, et seq., Congress directed the FTC to prescribe rules prohibiting deceptive telemarketing acts or practices. On August 16, 1995, the Commission promulgated the Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 C.F.R. Part 310, with a Statement of Basis and Purpose, 60 Fed. Reg. 43842 (Aug. 23, 1995). The Rule became effective December 31, 1995.

32. Defendants are "telemarketers" or "sellers" engaged in "telemarketing" as those terms are defined in the Rule, 16 C.F.R. 310.2(r), (t) and (u).

33. The Rule requires sellers and telemarketers to disclose all material restrictions, limitations, or conditions to purchase, receive, or use the goods or services that are the subject of the sales offer. 16 C.F.R. 310.3(a)(1)(ii).

34. The Rule prohibits sellers and telemarketers from making a false or misleading statement to induce any person to pay for goods or services. 16 C.F.R. 310.3(a)(4).

35. Pursuant to Section 3(c) of the Telemarketing Act, 15 U.S.C. 6102 (c), and Section 18(d)(3) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 57a(d)(3), violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rule constitute deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 45(a).

COUNT FOUR
(By Plaintiffs Federal Trade Commission, State of Washington, and State of Arizona)

36. In numerous instances, in connection with telemarketing foreign lottery tickets, defendants have made false or misleading statements to induce the purchase of lottery tickets or payment of money that include but are not limited to the following:

a. the consumer has been specially selected as one of a small group to play for a large cash award;
 
b. the consumer's odds of winning a large cash award are 1 in 6, or otherwise very good, or guaranteed;
 
c. the consumer's chances of winning are enhanced by purchasing through Win USA and IRAL;
 
d. the consumer has won and will receive a large cash award;
 
e. in order to receive the award, the consumer must pay hundreds or thousands of dollars of "processing" or other fees.

37. Therefore, defendants have violated Section 310.3(a)(4) of the Rule, 16 C.F.R.  310.3(a)(4).

COUNT FIVE
(By Plaintiffs Federal Trade Commission, State of Washington, and State of Arizona)

38. In numerous instances, in connection with telemarketing foreign lottery tickets, defendants fail to disclose that the sale and trafficking in foreign lotteries is a crime in the United States. Defendants have thereby violated Section 310.3(a)(1)(ii) of the Rule, 16 C.F.R. 310.3(a)(1)(ii).

VIOLATIONS OF THE
COMMERCIAL TELEPHONE SOLICITATION ACT

COUNT SIX
(By Plaintiff State of Washington)

39. Defendants' business constitutes commercial telephone solicitation as defined in RCW 19.158.020. Defendants are not registered as commercial telephone solicitors with the Washington State Department of Licensing as required by RCW 19.158.050.

40. Defendants are in violation of RCW 19.158.050(1) which requires a commercial telephone solicitor to be registered with the Department of Licensing. Pursuant to RCW 19.158.050(4)(a) and RCW 19.150.030, the violation of RCW 19.158.050(1) constitutes a per se violation of the Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86.

VIOLATIONS OF UNFAIR
BUSINESS PRACTICES-CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT

COUNT SEVEN
(By Plaintiff State of Washington)

41. In numerous instances, in connection with telemarketing foreign lottery tickets, and to induce the purchase of lottery tickets or payment of money, defendants have made false or misleading representations that include, but are not limited to the following:

a. the consumer has been specially selected as one of a small group to play for a large cash award;
 
b. the consumer's odds of winning a large cash award are 1 in 6, or otherwise very good, or guaranteed;
 
c. the consumer's chances of winning are enhanced by purchasing through Win USA and IRAL;
 
d. the consumer has won and will receive a large cash award;
 
e. in order to receive the award, the consumer must pay hundreds or thousands of dollars of "processing" or other fees.

42. The conduct described above constitutes unfair and deceptive acts or practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of RCW 19.86.020 and also constitutes a violation of RCW 19.158.040, which proscribes unfair or deceptive commercial telephone solicitation. Pursuant to RCW 19.158.030, the violation of RCW 19.158.040 constitutes a per se violation of the Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86.

COUNT EIGHT
(By Plaintiff State of Washington)

43. In numerous instances, in connection with telemarketing foreign lottery tickets, defendants fail to disclose that the sale and trafficking in foreign lotteries is a crime in the United States.

44. The conduct described above constitutes unfair and deceptive acts or practices and unfair methods of competition in violation of RCW 19.86.020 and also constitutes a violation of RCW 19.158.040, which proscribes unfair or deceptive commercial telephone solicitation. Pursuant to RCW 19.158.030, the violation of RCW 19.158.040 constitutes a per se violation of the Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86.

VIOLATIONS OF CONSUMER FRAUD ACT

COUNT NINE
(By Plaintiff State of Arizona)

45. In numerous instances, in connection with telemarketing foreign lottery tickets, and to induce the purchase of lottery tickets or payment of money, defendants have made false or misleading representations that include, but are not limited to the following:

a. the consumer has been specially selected as one of a small group to play for a large cash award;
 
b. the consumer's odds of winning a large cash award are 1 in 6, or otherwise very good, or guaranteed;
 
c. the consumer's chances of winning are enhanced by purchasing through Win USA and IRAL;
 
d. the consumer has won and will receive a large cash award;
 
e. in order to receive the award, the consumer must pay hundreds or thousands of dollars of "processing" or other fees.

46. The conduct described above constitutes violations of A.R.S. 44-1522(A).

47. While engaging in the acts and practices alleged herein, defendants were at all times acting wilfully as defined in A.R.S. 44-1531.

COUNT TEN
(By Plaintiff State of Arizona)

48. In numerous instances, in connection with telemarketing foreign lottery tickets, defendants fail to disclose that the sale and trafficking in foreign lotteries is a crime in the United States, with intent that others rely on such concealment, suppression or omission.

49. The conduct described above constitutes violations of A.R.S. 44-1522(A).

50. While engaging in the acts and practices alleged herein, defendants were at all times acting wilfully as defined in A.R.S. 44-1531.

CONSUMER INJURY

51. Consumers throughout the United States have suffered and continue to suffer substantial monetary loss as a result of defendants' unlawful acts or practices. In addition, defendants have been unjustly enriched as a result of their unlawful practices. Absent injunctive relief by this Court, the defendants are likely to continue to injure consumers, reap unjust enrichment, and harm the public interest.

THIS COURT'S POWER TO GRANT RELIEF

52. Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 53(b), empowers this Court to grant injunctive and other ancillary relief, including consumer redress, disgorgement, and restitution to prevent and remedy any violations of any provision of law enforced by the Commission.

53. Section 19 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 57b, and Section 6(b) of the Telemarketing Act, 15 U.S.C. 6105(b), authorize this Court to grant such relief as the Court finds necessary to redress injury to consumers or other persons resulting from defendants' violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rule, including the rescission and reformation of contracts and the refund of monies.

54. Section 4(a) of the Telemarketing Act, 15 U.S.C.  6103(a), authorizes the Court to grant to the State of Washington and the State of Arizona, on behalf of their residents, injunctive and other relief, including damages, restitution, other compensation, and such further and other relief as the Court deems appropriate.

55. The Washington Unfair Business Practices--Consumer Protection Act, RCW 19.86, and the Commercial Telephone Solicitation Act, RCW 19.158, may be enforced through this Court through pendant jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1367. This Court is empowered to grant injunctive and such other relief as it may deem appropriate to halt and redress violations of the Unfair Business Practices Act--Consumer Protection Act and the Commercial Telephone Solicitation Act.

56. The Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, A.R.S. 44-1521, et seq. may be enforced through this Court through pendant jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1367. This Court is empowered to grant injunctive and such other relief as it may deem appropriate to halt and redress violations of the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.

57. This Court, in the exercise of its equitable jurisdiction, may award other ancillary relief to remedy injury caused by the defendants' law violations.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, plaintiff the Federal Trade Commission, pursuant to Sections 13(b) and 19 of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C.  53(b) and 57b, Section 6(b) of the Telemarketing Act, 15 U.S.C. 6105(b), and the Court's own equitable powers, and plaintiff State of Washington and plaintiff State of Arizona pursuant to Section 4(a) of the Telemarketing Act, 15 U.S.C.  6103(a), and the Court's own equitable powers, request that the Court:

Award plaintiffs such preliminary injunctive and ancillary relief as may be necessary to avert the likelihood of consumer injury during the pendency of this action and to preserve the possibility of effective final relief;
 
Permanently enjoin the defendants from violating the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule, as alleged herein;
 
Permanently enjoin defendants from violating the Washington Unfair Business Practices-Consumer Protection Act and the Washington Commercial Telephone Solicitation Act; Permanently enjoin defendants from violating the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act;
 
Award such relief as the Court finds necessary to redress injury to consumers resulting from the defendants' violations of the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the FTC Act,, the Washington Unfair Business Practices-Consumer Protection Act, the Washington Commercial Telephone Solicitation Act, and the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, including but not limited to, rescission of contracts, the refund of monies paid, and the disgorgement of ill-gotten monies; and
Assess a civil penalty, pursuant to RCW 19.86.140, of up to $2,000 per violation against each defendant for each and every violation of RCW 19.86.020 caused by the conduct alleged herein;
 
Assess a civil penalty, pursuant to A.R.S. 44-1531, of up to $10,000 per violation against each defendant for each wilful violation of A.R.S. 44-1522(A).
 
Award plaintiffs the costs of bringing this action and reasonable attorneys' fees, as well as such other and additional relief as the Court may determine to be just and proper.

Dated: , 1998

Respectfully Submitted,

DEBRA A. VALENTINE
General Counsel

CHARLES A. HARWOOD
Regional Director

___________________________
Mary T. Benfield
WSBA 18835

___________________________
Eleanor Durham

Attorneys for Plaintiff
Federal Trade Commission

CHRISTINE O. GREGOIRE
Attorney General

SALLY REED GUSTAFSON
Senior Assistant Attorney General

______________________________
Paula Selis, WSBA 12823
Senior Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
900 4th Avenue, Suite 2000
Seattle, WA 98164-1012
(206) 464-7744

Attorneys for Plaintiff
State of Washington

GRANT WOODS
Attorney General

______________________________
Denise W. Valenzuela, ASBA 009888
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection and Advocacy Section
1275 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 542-7726

Attorneys for Plaintiff
State of Arizona