On February 6, 2007 Franchise Pick alerted U.S. franchise investors about a possible fraudulent franchise operation moving into the U.S. from Canada (The Latest U.S. Import: Franchise Fraud). Canadian television recently produced an undercover investigative report regarding convicted fraud artist Reza Solhi, who sold pizza franchise under several names in Canada and is actively marketing Anthony’s Kitchen franchises in the U.S.
According to a story in the Winnipeg Free Press, the TV broadcast prompted HISHAM ALARD to come forward as another of the scams alleged victims:
As an immigrant, Alard was looking for a business to run when he arrived here from Syria in the spring of 2004. On the hunt for prospects, he spotted a glossy ad about a pizza franchise while leafing through the paper one day.
Pizza One offered prospective franchise buyers an easy recipe for making lots of dough — their choice of prime locations and help with financing — up to $150,000 over and above the buyer’s $50,000 price tag.
Alard jumped at it.
“When I first came to this country, I invested all the money I had and my father-in-law did, too, in this franchise,” Alard said. He made the big leap, with $36,000 from his father-in-law to make up the $50,000.
Alard says he never opened the franchise because the chain never came through with a location or the rest of the promised financing, a sum of $150,000.
Months of phone calls and letters later, he finally figured out he’d been had — and there was nothing he could do to get his money back.
“After a year, we discovered it was a fraud. There was nothing we could do. They just kept running away.”
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