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”
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”