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Five men have been indicted on federal fraud charges alleging they ran a million-dollar telemarketing scam that targeted numerous victims, many of them elderly, into paying non-existent debts purportedly owed from magazine subscriptions.
A federal grand jury returned a 10-count indictment on Dec. 4 that charges each of the defendants with conspiracy, as well as nine counts of wire fraud. The defendants include Ahmad Eraif, 35; Mohamed Eraif, 37; Jonathan Massouras, 30; William Gampel, 29; and Kevin Gampel, 26, all of Quebec, Canada. Specific victims identified in the indictment reside in Beverly Hills, Granada Hills, Garden Grove and Ventura. The total losses in this case exceed $1 million, the indictment alleges.
The indictment alleges that from 2013 to September 2015, the defendants contacted victims and claimed to be from companies such as “Magazine Readers,” “Global Readers” and “American Reader Services.” During the telephone calls, the defendants allegedly claimed that the victims owed money for magazine subscriptions.
Participants in the scheme allegedly told victims that if they paid the amount owed, their purported debts would be satisfied. Instead, the victims’ personal information was collected and stored so their financial accounts could be charged again. The perpetrators also made repeated additional calls demanding payments, according to the indictment, and allegedly threatened to damage victims’ credit or file legal action if payments were not made.
Each count carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles is one of six offices nationwide participating in the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force, a joint law enforcement effort combatting fraud. For information, visit justice.gov.
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