Federal Jury Finds Three Defendants Guilty in $300 Million Nationwide Telemarketing Fraud Scheme Targeting the Elderly
November 8, 2023
MINNEAPOLIS – A federal jury has found three defendants guilty in a $300 million nationwide telemarketing fraud scheme that targeted elderly and vulnerable victims, announced U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger.
According to evidence presented at trial, Amondo Antoine Miller, 47, of Littleton, Colorado, Tashena Laverna Crump, 39, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Ballam Hazeakiah Dudley, 37, of Plymouth, Minnesota, knowingly conspired with at least 40 other defendants to carry out a telemarketing scheme that began in at least 2000 and victimized numerous individuals across the United States, many of whom are elderly and vulnerable.
“This was one of the largest elder fraud schemes in our nation, with over 150,000 elderly victims across the country,” said United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger. “We are pleased with the verdict. Combating elder fraud and abuse is one of the Justice Department’s top priorities, and we will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to combat systemic fraud of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Miller, Crump, and Dudley accomplished their scheme by calling victim-consumers who had one or more existing magazine subscriptions and offering to "renew" the existing magazine subscriptions, often at a reduced cost. In reality, the defendants tricked the victim-consumers into signing up for entirely new magazine subscriptions, which they did not want and often could not afford. Some victim-consumers were fraudulently billed by as many as ten companies at a time and received more than $1,000 in monthly magazine subscription charges. Over the course of the scheme, the co-conspirators defrauded more than $300 million from over 150,000 victims nationwide.
Following a month-long trial before Judge John R. Tunheim in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Dudley, Crump, and Miller, were found guilty of multiple counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Their sentencing hearings will be scheduled at a later date.
“The perpetrators of this reprehensible scam exhibited a ruthless level of deception and manipulation by targeting vulnerable victims,” said Special Agent in Charge Alvin M. Winston, Sr. “This verdict sends a strong message that those who seek to exploit vulnerable Americans will be brought to justice.”
“Yesterday’s verdict reaffirms how critical a role the U.S. Postal Inspection Service plays in protecting the American consumer from these types of fraudulent schemes and in ensuring that the nation’s U.S. Mail stream is not used by criminals to prey upon our citizens,” said Denver Division Inspector in Charge Bryan Musgrove. “The bold egregious nature in which these fraudsters victimized our elders and stripped them of their hard-earned money illustrates their callous disregard for human decency and overall greed. This investigation is a tremendous example of how the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and our FBI law enforcement partners can work side by side in an effort to bring these fraudsters to justice.”
The case was the first in Minnesota charged under the Senior Citizens Against Marketing Scams Act of 1994, which ensures enhanced penalties for persons convicted of mail or wire fraud in connection with the conduct of telemarketing. This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
Based on the evidence obtained in this investigation, authorities believe there may be additional victims of the alleged conduct. Report suspected fraudulent activity to MagazineVictims@FBI.GOV.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Harry M. Jacobs, Matthew S. Ebert, Garrett S. Fields, and Melinda A. Williams tried the case.