(CBS4) — The Department of Justice announced on Friday the indictments of 60 people for their roles in a nationwide telemarketing scheme that defrauded more than 150,000 vulnerable older victims across the United States.

The charges in the three separate indictments include conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and violation of the Senior Citizens Marketing Scam Act of 1994.

The defendants are located in 14 states, 16 judicial districts, and two Canadian provinces.

Six of them are residents of metro Denver.

File photo of a phone operator's headset near a desk. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

(credit: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

“This case represents the largest elder fraud scheme in the nation,” said United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald of the District of Minnesota. “Unfortunately, we live in a world where fraudsters are willing to take advantage of seniors, who are often trusting and polite. It’s my hope that this prosecution is a call for vigilance and caution. Combatting elder fraud and abuse is one of the Justice Department’s top priorities and I applaud our investigative partners for their grit and dedication in tackling, at the systemic level, this widespread fraud.”

All of the Colorado defendants were among the 43 named in United States v. Rahm, et al., 20-cr-232. It was the largest operation which accounted for the bulk of the money bilked from older citizens — more than $300 million dollars.

(credit: CBS)

The federal indictment alleges:

  • Amonda Antoine Miller, 44, of Littleton, was a lead broker and owner of a company involved in fraudulent magazine sales. He is charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and violating the SCAMS Act.
  • Kiley Marie Saindon, 39, of Lakewood, was a call center manager. She is charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and violating the SCAMS Act.
  • Henry Aragon, 50, of Golden, was owner of several Colorado-based companies involved in fraudulent magazine sales. He is charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and violating the SCAMS Act.
  • Lucille J. Patterson, 68, of Denver, was owner of several Colorado-based companies involved in fraudulent magazine sales. She is charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and violating the SCAMS Act.
  • James Anthony Sierra, 55, of Littleton, was a call center manager, and is charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and violating the SCAMS Act.
  • Jennifer Lynn Girardin, 48, of Englewood, was owner and operator of a Missouri-based company involved in fraudulent magazine sales. She is charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and violating the SCAMS Act.

Some of the defendants used “cancellation” scripts, federal prosecutors allege. The cancellation scripts targeted people who had previously fallen victim to a fraudulent magazine sales scam and took advantage of their desperation to get out from under them. Defendants told the victims they were from a magazine’s cancellation department and offered to consolidate and cease existing subscription debts in exchange for a lump sum payment. In reality, information about balances owed was completely falsified and the lump sum payment stolen.

Some of the offenses date back 20 years, per prosecutors.

(credit: Thinkstock)

“The thieving greed of fraudsters who target senior citizens knows no bounds,” said FBI Minneapolis Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul. “Using a tactic like telemarketing magazine sales, these deceitful scam artists bilk hard earned money from their aging victims – leaving so many financially devastated in their retirement years and without recourse for recovery.”

A search of online criminal records shows Miller and Saindon have previously spent time in Colorado’s Department of Corrections.

Authorities believe there may be more victims.

Anyone wishing to report similar suspicious or fraudulent activity should email MagazineVictims@FBI.GOV or visit FBI.gov/MagazineVictims.

 

 

Logan Smith

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