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An Arizona man has pleaded guilty to scamming up to 250 people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by operating a fake magazine-subscription company.
Raheem Oliver, 38, of Phoenix, pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to fraud conspiracy charges. He admitted running companies that preyed on elderly consumers, demanding large payments for supposedly overdue magazine subscriptions.
Court documents say two elderly consumers in Virginia were each scammed out of more than $50,000. They were told they owed fines and legal fees for unpaid subscription renewals.
Alzheimer’s patient, 94-year-old were victims
One victim was 94 and told he owed money on more than 200 subscriptions, according to court documents. Another, who was 84 and had Alzheimer’s disease, received more than 100 phone calls.
“Oliver frequently impersonated government agencies and officials, including local courts and county clerks, and threatened his victims with mandatory court appearances and arrest if they did not comply with his demands for payment,” court documents said.
Oliver also made it appear as though his calls were coming from telephone numbers associated with a court or government agency using a phone application.
Other people were involved in the scheme, including Oliver’s fiance, court documents said. In addition to the magazine scam, they used victims’ credit card numbers and bank account information to pay for personal expenses and travel.
In total, approximately 250 people were victimized during the multi-year fraud, according to court documents.
The fraud added up to as much as $550,000 between 2013 and 2016, prosecutors estimated.
The companies were called National Publishers Magazine LLC, ReadersElection.com, Magazine Subscriptions Renewed, My Magazines LLC and Platinum Reader Magazine.
Oliver will be sentenced in June and faces up to 20 years in prison.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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