Archived — Alberta man found guilty of misleading representations and breach of consent agreement

OTTAWA, June 25, 2013 — The Competition Bureau announced today that Matthew Hovila, of Edmonton, Alberta, was convicted by a jury of engaging in criminal conduct under the Competition Act relating to the operation of an online job opportunities scam.

Mr. Hovila was found guilty of making materially false or misleading representations with respect to finding employment in the oil and gas industry on his website at www.oilcareer.com and of contravening a registered consent agreement under the Act. Sentencing will take place at a date to be set by the court. This is the Bureau's first conviction for the contravention of a registered consent agreement.

The penalties for making materially false or misleading representations to the public are a fine in the discretion of the court or a prison term of up to 14 years, or a combination of both. The penalties for contravening a registered consent agreement under the Act are a fine in the discretion of the court or a prison term of up to five years, or a combination of both.

Mr. Hovila previously signed a consent agreement with the Bureau in 2006 regarding the same website and paid a $100,000 administrative monetary penalty. At that time, Mr. Hovila admitted he had violated the Act's civil false or misleading representations provision and agreed to cease the conduct and notify the public. The consent agreement was registered with the Competition Tribunal and is valid for 10 years. Consent agreements that are registered with the Tribunal have the same force and effect as a court order.

In 2011, Mr. Hovila was arrested for breach of consent agreement following investigation by the Bureau as part of its broader monitoring program regarding compliance with court orders, including registered consent agreements.

While businesses are responsible for complying with the Act in general, and more particularly consent agreements they are party to, the Bureau's order monitoring program helps ensure compliance with all court orders, including registered consent agreements.

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.


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