Fort Worth man is 64th defendant charged in nationwide telemarketing scheme

Published 7:48 am Friday, May 14, 2021

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MINNEAPOLIS – A Texas man was arraigned in federal court today on charges of wire fraud and violating the Senior Citizens Against Marketing Scams Act of 1994 (the “SCAMS Act”).

According to court documents, Jeremy Wade Wilson, 39, of Fort Worth, Texas, was the owner and operator of Publishers Elite, a Texas-based company involved in fraudulent magazine sales. Publishers Elite operated a telemarketing call center in Arlington, Texas, and from 2013 through 2019, Wilson provided his telemarketers with scripts containing fraudulent sales pitches for use in defrauding victim-consumers, many of whom were elderly or otherwise vulnerable, out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The fraudulent sales pitches were designed to induce consumers, through a series of lies and misrepresentations, into unwittingly signing up for expensive magazine subscriptions.

According to court documents, Wilson obtained lists of consumers who had active and ongoing magazine subscriptions through other companies. Wilson directed his telemarketers to claim—falsely—that they were calling from the victim-consumers’ existing magazine subscription company and about an existing magazine subscription. Wilson’s script directed the telemarketers to claim—again falsely—to be calling with an offer to renew the victim-consumer’s existing magazine subscription, often at a reduced cost. In reality, Wilson and his company had no existing relationship with most of the victim-consumers and his telemarketers were not calling about an existing magazine subscription. Instead they were calling to defraud them by tricking them into unwittingly signing up for entirely new magazine subscriptions.

According to court documents, Wilson and his company defrauded more than 14,000 victims across the United States, including more than 200 victims in Minnesota. Between 2013 and 2019, his company received more than $4.5 million from victims of his scheme.

Wilson is charged with six counts wire fraud and violating the Senior Citizens Against Marketing Scams Act of 1994 (the “SCAMS Act”). Wilson is the 64th defendant charged to date as part of a nationwide telemarketing scheme that targeted elderly and vulnerable victims. Wilson was arraigned today in U.S. District Court before Magistrate Judge Tony N. Leung. Acting U.S. Attorney W. Anders Folk of the District of Minnesota made the announcement.

This indictment is related to the cases United States v. Rahm, et al., 20-cr-232; United States v. Timmerman et al., 20-cr-233; United States v. Mathias et al., 20-cr-231; United States v. Olberg, 20-cr-285, United States v. Dahl, 18-cr-305 and United States v. Oelrich, 20-cr-128.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Additional assistance was provided by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph H. Thompson, Harry M. Jacobs, and Melinda A. Williams are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.