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”