United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald announced Wednesday three separate indictments charging 60 defendants for their roles in a $300 million nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme that targeted elderly and vulnerable victims. The charges include conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and violating the Senior Citizens Against Marketing Scams Act of 1994 (the "SCAMS Act"). The defendants are located in 14 states, 16 judicial districts, and two Canadian provinces.
"This case represents the largest elder fraud scheme in the nation. More than 150,000 elderly and vulnerable victims across the United States have been identified in what is essentially a criminal class action," said United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald. "It’s my hope that this prosecution is a call for vigilance and caution."
FBI Minneapolis Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul said the telemarketers used deceitful scam artists to bilk hard-earned money from their aging victims – leaving many financially devastated without recourse for recovery.
According the U.S. Attorney’s office, Russell Jason Rahm, 50, of Kansas City, Kansas, owner and Chief Executive Officer of several Kansas-based companies involved in fraudulent magazine sales, was among those charged. He was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and violating the SCAMS Act.
Documents filed with the court show that telemarketing companies signed victim-consumers up for expensive and entirely new magazine subscriptions under the auspices of "reducing" the consumer’s monthly rate, when that was not the case.