Grand Theft Auto Key Code: Cedric Duane Burks was a player in an auto-theft ring operated by Levi Elliot and Abraham Elliot based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Once an automobile was targeted for theft, the Elliots would provide Cedric Burks with the automobile’s unique vehicle identification number (“VIN”). Using this information, Cedric Burks would contact a local auto dealership and claim that he was purchasing the vehicle in question and needed the vehicle’s “key code” in order to make a key for the vehicle.
Grand Theft Auto Key Code
A key code is a unique sequence of numbers that a manufacturer assigns to an individual vehicle to allow the vehicle’s owner to make duplicate keys. An individual in possession of a key code for a particular vehicle can make an unlimited number of working keys for that vehicle. Continue reading “Grand Theft Auto Key Code”
Damone Jackson initiated the telemarketing scam in Chicago, Illinois under the name “Midwest Marketing” (“Midwest”). Damone Jackson, who lived in Los Angeles and ran another telemarketing company there, recruited his nephew, Mark Jackson, then age eighteen, to oversee Midwest Marketing’s operations in Chicago. Although Damone owned the Chicago company, received the funds collected, and sent employee pay checks from California, Mark Jackson was in charge of hiring, firing, and supervising Midwest Marketing employees in Chicago. He also handled “customer complaints.” After Mark Jackson initially worked for Midwest Marketing for about two months, the Chicago operations ceased until he again started up the business in August or September of 1990. Kerry Stephans began working for Midwest Marketing in September of 1990 and worked through January of 1991. In October of 1990, Damone Jackson decided to expand Midwest Marketing’s business, and he and Mark Jackson hired additional telemarketers to work for them in Chicago. Midwest Marketing remained in business until April of 1991.
While the exact nature of the scheme varied over time, the “prizes” changed somewhat, and different company names were used, the Midwest program basically worked as follows Continue reading “Midwest Marketing Telemarketing Scam”
John Ciccone was the owner of Feed America Inc. (“Feed America”), a telemarketing company in Las Vegas, Nevada. From March of 1994 until October of 1995, he ran a scheme to defraud people throughout the country. He paid his solicitors a straight commission to telephone people, who had previously relied upon the promises of other telemarketers, and persuade them to send money to Feed America. They succeeded in doing so by telling victims that they had won money, a fabulous prize, and the opportunity to donate to charitable causes. There was one hitch: the lucky victims first had to pay a sizeable sum to Feed America. When people refused, the solicitors called them over and over again. When they did send their money, Feed America returned ten percent of their donation and a cheap gift. Its donations to charitable causes were minuscule.
John Ciccone designed a “pitch” for Feed America solicitors to use, which convinced people that they had won an extraordinary prize. It started out like this:
This is (Fundraiser’s Name) with FEED AMERICA in Las Vegas, Nevada … the reason for the call is Continue reading “Is Feed America a Legitimate Charity”
Altaf Amlani was the president and owner of Finer Images, a telemarketing company from the Los Angeles area. Finer Images’ employees would tell prospective customers that they were eligible for valuable prizes, such as cars, cash, a home entertainment center, and/or jewelry. To claim their prize (or prizes), the customers were told they needed to buy advertising specialties, such as pens, T-shirts, and key chains, which were imprinted with the customer’s business name, address, and phone number. These purchases ostensibly would eliminate gift taxes by making the prize a promotional award rather than a gift.
Finer Images’ sales pitches misrepresented the customers’ chance of winning the grand prizes, namely the cars and cash. The evidence presented at trial showed that Finer Images awarded only inexpensive watches or jewelry. Although Finer Images claimed these prizes were worth over $1000 apiece, the evidence showed that the wholesale value was $38-49 for each bracelet and $69 for each watches. Customers that ordered once were subjected to additional high-pressure sales pitches, with Continue reading “Telemarketing Fraud Prize Scam”
The scheme itself was simple. Callers, hired by Alfred Greene, Jr., and Richard Leonard, used phone lines set up in a suite of small offices in the Houston area to contact elderly citizens located across the country and inform them that their names had been selected by a committee to receive one of four awards. These individuals, whose identities had been purchased from a mail order company, were read to from a pre-designed script and told that they had already been chosen to receive either first prize of $15,000.00 cash; second prize consisting of a diamond and sapphire pendant; third prize which was a large-screen Sony television; or, fourth prize consisting of $1,000.00 cash. The pendant, the only prize ever given out, was designated as second prize so that the victim would think it the second-most valuable item after the $15,000.00. In fact, a portion of the script anticipated questions as to the value of the pendant and was designed to mislead the person to believe that the jewelry, later appraised for $15.00, was worth between $2,000.00 and $2,500.00. To obtain the prize, the victim was informed Continue reading “Telemarketing Scam Contest Winner”
Glen Hartford, a film producer, founded Cinamour in 2000 to make and distribute independent films, and served as its chief executive officer and majority shareholder. Glen Hartford used telemarketing to solicit money from individual investors to finance three movies: Forbidden Warrior, From Mexico with Love, and Red Water 12. These three movies are the basis of the United States v. Toll indictment.
Cinamour began raising money for Forbidden Warrior in 2001 out of a telemarketing boiler room in Los Angeles, California. James Lloyd and Paul Baker were involved in the Forbidden Warrior fundraising. That movie was released in 2005 directly to video distribution and made about $500,000, a commercial failure of large proportions.
From 2004 to 2007, Cinamour used telemarketing to solicit purchases of partnership units to finance From Mexico With Love. Cinamour raised approximately $14.2 million from 445 investors nationwide. From Mexico With Love grossed about $800,000 from a very limited theatrical release. The investors received no return on the money they sent. James Lloyd, Paul Baker, and Albert Greenhouse were involved in soliciting investments in From Mexico With Love.
In 2007, Cinamour began telemarketing sales of partnership units in Red Water. Cinamour raised approximately $2.8 million from approximately 100 victims nationwide but spent only $23,000 on making the movie. The investors lost everything. Paul Baker and David Nelson were involved in soliciting the investments in Red Water.
In 2009, after an undercover investigation, the FBI raided Cinamour’s Los Angeles offices. Glen Hartford committed suicide days after the raid. Continue reading “Telemarketing Fraud Partnership Units to Finance Movies”
Continental Distributing Company (“CDC”) was a telemarketing company based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The company targeted its telemarketing schemes at elderly people because the elderly tend to be most vulnerable to the various telemarketing tricks and ploys used by Continental Distributing Company. Ninety-nine percent of the calls CDC made were to people over the age of 60, and ninety percent of the calls were made to people over the age of 70. The company operated a one-in-four scheme whereby a telemarketer would call a victim and tell the victim that she had won one of four fabulous awards. The awards were usually stated in order of the least expensive to the most expensive. For example, the telemarketer, when speaking to a potential victim, would list the awards in the following order: a 1994 car, a speed boat, the open award, and cash. The telemarketers purposely listed the awards in this manner to disguise the fact that the “open award” (also known as the “gimmie”) was worth substantially less than the other awards. Typically, the open award was a very inexpensive piece of merchandise such as a lithograph, JFK coin set, or cheap sculpture.
The object of the scheme was to Continue reading “Telemarketing Fraud One-In-Four Scheme Fronters and Reloaders”
On July 28, Frank Ramos was store manager of the Clark Drug Store in Temple City. He was responsible for running all the operations of the store, including safeguarding store merchandise, but he was not a security officer.
At about 11 a.m. he observed Betty Jo Buonauro standing behind a counter, where customers were normally not allowed, in the photo department. Expensive items were stored at that display counter and on the shelf behind. Mr. Ramos stepped briefly into a storeroom and when he came back out Betty Jo Buonauro was gone from the counter. A customer came up to Frank Ramos and said, “A lady just took two radios Continue reading “Betty Jo Buonauro Convicted Radio Theft from Drug Store”
About 9 p.m. on September 20, William Perkins, a police officer of the City of Los Angeles, who worked as a part-time employee for Thrifty Drug Store in detecting and apprehending shoplifters, observed Wayne Edward Hooker engaged over a period of 30 minutes in removing various items of merchandise from counters in the drugstore and secreting them on his person. When Wayne Hooker left the store without having paid for the merchandise, William Perkins displayed his badge and said, “I’m a police officer and you are under arrest for shoplifting.” Wayne Hooker knocked William Perkins down and started to run. William Perkins caught up, and Wayne Hooker hit him in the head and kicked him several times and again ran away. William Perkins again caught up, Wayne Hooker drew a knife, and Continue reading “Wayne Hooker Guilty of Shoplifting and Battery on a Peace Officer”
On December 5, Russell Allen Hackler pleaded guilty to a single count of petty theft with a prior robbery conviction. He also admitted a prior prison term enhancement allegation. Russell Hackler and another man were apprehended when each took two 12-packs of beer from a store without paying for them.
On January 2, the court offered Russell Hackler a grant of probation for three years with certain conditions. Russell Hackler accepted the offer, so the court suspended imposition of sentence and placed him on probation. Because Russell Hackler was then incarcerated for parole violation, the probation conditions were to take effect when he was released in April. The conditions included 118 days in jail (satisfied with 118 days of presentence credit); a requirement that Russell Hackler report to the court daily until such time as he found employment; a directive that Russell Hackler attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings thrice weekly; and finally, a requirement that Russell Hackler wear as an outer garment a court-supplied T-shirt whenever he was outside his home during the first year of probation. That T-shirt stated on the front, “My record plus two six-packs equals four years,” and on the back, “I am on felony probation for theft.” Continue reading “Russell Hackler Convicted Shoplifting Beer from Supermarket”