KCK man among 60 people charged in $300 million telemarketing fraud scheme

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MINNEAPOLIS — United States Attorney Erica MacDonald, with the U.S. District of Minnesota, has announced charges against 60 people in a fraud scheme, including one man from Kansas City, Kansas.

Russell J. Rahm, 50, of Kansas City, Kansas, owner and chief executive officer of several Kansas-based companies involved in fraudulent magazine sales, is charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and violating the SCAMS Act, according to a statement from MacDonald’s office.

Rahm, along with the other defendants from across the U.S. and Canada, is accused of devising and carrying out an illegal telemarketing scheme, according to court documents. Companies targeted vulnerable consumers, many of which were elderly, and lied in order to get large or recurring payments.

“Many of the defendants used a fraudulent “renewal” script in which the telemarketers falsely claimed to be calling from the victim-consumer’s existing magazine subscription company about an existing magazine subscription package. The telemarketers often claimed—falsely—to be calling with an offer to reduce the monthly cost of an existing subscription. In reality, the company had no existing relationship with the victim-consumers and was actually fraudulently signing the victim-consumers up for expensive and entirely new magazine subscriptions,” according to the statement.

More than 150,000 people were victimized by the scheme, according to court documents.

“When the U.S. Mail is used for the purposes of committing fraud, and in this case, a particularly insidious type of fraud- elder fraud, it’s the job of the Postal Inspection Service to aggressively investigate and ensure America’s confidence in the integrity of the U.S. Mail,” Inspector in Charge Ruth Mendonҫa said.

Thayer is a town near the border of Arkansas in southcentral Missouri.

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