Midwest Marketing Telemarketing Scam

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”

Is Feed America a Legitimate Charity

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”

Telemarketing Fraud Prize Scam

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”

Telemarketing Scam Contest Winner

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”

Telemarketing Fraud Partnership Units to Finance Movies

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”

Telemarketing Fraud One-In-Four Scheme Fronters and Reloaders

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”

Adam Ramirez, Willie Ramirez Charged After Fictitious 1.5 Million Wire Transfer

Adam Ramirez and Willie Ramirez duped Home Federal Savings and Loan Association of San Diego into crediting Adam Ramirez’s $10 savings account at the Redondo Beach branch with $1.5 million, based upon a fictitious “wire transfer” of funds.

On February 6 Adam Salas Ramirez approached Gloria Dias, branch manager of the Redondo Beach branch of Home Federal Savings and Loan Association of San Diego, indicating that he would like to establish a savings account so that a large amount of money could be “wire transferred” into it. He indicated he and his associates were in the process of buying the Cockatoo Inn in Hawthorne, that he expected a wire transfer of $1.5 million, that he would probably immediately withdraw $900,000 of the money, but might Continue reading “Adam Ramirez, Willie Ramirez Charged After Fictitious 1.5 Million Wire Transfer”