$300 Million Telemarketing Scheme Preyed on the Elderly, Feds Say

(NYT) — Sixty people have been indicted in a nationwide telemarketing scheme in which federal prosecutors say people were tricked into signing up for expensive magazine subscriptions they could not afford, did not want and often did not receive.

According to federal prosecutors, more than 150,000 people were defrauded of more than $300 million.

According to three separate indictments handed up last week, prosecutors alleged that for 20 years, dozens of fraudulent telemarketing companies operating across 14 states and two Canadian provinces used deceptive sales tactics in the scheme. Erica H. MacDonald, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, said at a news conference Wednesday that the scheme was part of a growing trend in crimes against older people in recent years.

“These calls aren’t just annoying,” she said. “Beyond financial, they take an emotional toll, especially on these victims.”

In a statement Wednesday, MacDonald, whose office is prosecuting the case, called the operation “the largest elder fraud scheme in the nation.”

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