Telemarketing fraud is using the telephone to commit fraud. It is a crime to which the Federal Trade Commission has devoted much attention. If you or someone you love is suspected of or charged with committing telemarketing fraud, you should speak with a federal crimes lawyer as soon as possible. The penalties for telemarketing fraud are severe. To schedule a consultation with an experienced and highly sought after federal crimes lawyer, contact David M. Dudley.
Types of Telemarketing Fraud
Some of the most common telemarketing scams include:
- Buying club memberships: The scammer will try to sell club memberships and will pressure the person to pay immediately. The scammers will then continue to charge the person for subsequent deliveries of items he or she never ordered and doesn't want.
- Charities and Fundraising Fraud: "Gifting" clubs often fall within this category. The target is asked to help get new members, often from their church or neighborhood organization, to join the club. In reality, this is a pyramid scheme. Other scammers call and use the names of police or firemen's organization, military clubs, disease fighting organizations, or any group that "pulls at your heart strings."
- Credit and Loan Offers: These scams are usually run by someone who says he or she can offer easy credit for no charge without examining the person's past credit record.
- Government Grant Scams: The scammer offers a free government grant that the person won't need to pay back.
- Identity theft: Stealing another person's identity by gaining personal information such as social security or bank number, then using the information to get credit cards, for example.
- Medical discount plans: These scammers offer very low cost medical plans. They usually say it doesn't matter if you have pre-existing conditions and there will be no copays or deductibles for you to worry about.
- Reloading scams: This is when a scam artist makes a list of the people he or she has already scammed, assuming they will be easy to scam again. Scammers put these people on "sucker lists." These lists contain personal information about people such as names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card information, social security numbers and other facts. The crooks put together these lists and sell them to others. Double scammers, called "reloaders," call their targets and claim they work for a government agency, private company or consumer organization. They then tell their victims that for a fee, they could help them recover money or claim a prize not yet delivered. A second scammer then calls the same target and claims they can help for a recovery fee.
- Work at home fraud and fraudulent business opportunities.
- Sweepstakes and lotteries.
Penalties for Telemarketing Fraud
According to The Federal Trade Commission, the vast majority of telemarketing fraud involves the crime of "reloading." Telemarketers buy lists from other criminals that name the people who have already been defrauded. They continue to call these same people, asking for larger amounts of money. These reloaders identify the victims' assets and continue defrauding them until their life savings are gone. When victims have tape-recorded the scammers, the nature of the scams become apparent. The criminals call their targets over and over, often using abusive language to get them to pay.
The Federal Trade Commission does not take telemarketing fraud lightly. It is working with local authorities to prosecute these criminals and penalize them to the fullest extent of the law. If you are arrested for telemarketing fraud, you face hefty fines and time in prison. You will need the help of an experienced defense attorney who has a proven record of success in these types of cases. Mr. Dudley has years of experience successfully defending people accused of fraud. To schedule a consultation to discuss your case, contact Mr. Dudley today.
Fraud: Selected Case Results:
- U.S. v. R.Y.: While directing a telemarketing operation, the defendant sold worthless art to consumers under false pretenses. According to the federal government, which indicted him for mail and wire fraud, the defendant's conduct cost his victims over $7,000,000. After negotiating a plea agreement which held him accountable for several million dollars less than that, the defense persuaded the district court to impose a sentence of 60 months, a term far lower than that which he was originally facing.
- U.S. v. W.R.: The federal government charged the defendant with causing more than $140,000 in losses as part of a credit card scheme. Attorney Dudley was able to negotiate a disposition pursuant to which the defendant received a sentence of only 15 months.
- U.S. v. T.S.: The defendant was indicted for over $6,000,000 in bank fraud in three jurisdictions: the District of Minnesota, the District of West Virginia, and the Central District of California. After extended negotiations, the defendant, who was looking at 20 to 30 years in federal custody, received a sentence of less than eight years.
- U.S. v. M.T.: The federal government charged the defendant with organizing a $1,000.000 mortgage fraud scheme. Before the government indicted the defendant for running another $4,000,000 real estate fraud scheme, Attorney Dudley reached a deal with the federal prosecutor pursuant to which the defendant admitted his involvement in the first scheme in exchange for a prosecutorial decision not to name him in the second. At sentencing, the defendant, who had a substantial criminal record, received a sentence of just 41 months.
- P. v. J.S.: Accused of organizing an extensive automobile insurance fraud network, the defendant was facing numerous felony fraud charges. Although the defendant was purportedly responsible for almost $1,000,000 in losses to various insurance companies, the defense worked out a deal which resulted in the defendant serving only one year of actual prison time.
- P. v. E.D.: While working in the accounting department of medical clinic which provided free and discounted services to the poor, the defendant embezzled $1,200,000. Consequently, the district attorney charged her with several felony fraud counts. After producing a psychiatric report and other documents which demonstrated that the defendant engaged in the unlawful conduct only to support a massive gambling addiction, the defense was able to obtain a disposition under which she received a prison term of only four years.