Federal authorities have arrested two Larimer men who scammed nearly $2 million from more than 21,000 people who thought they were buying magazine subscriptions that would benefit Children’s Hospital, military support groups and other charities, according to an indictment unsealed Monday.
Samuel Cole, 43, and Larhon Buchanan, 31, engaged in an elaborate confidence game in which they hired groups of young men and women to sell the fake subscriptions door-to-door across the country, the indictment says.
A federal grand jury on Oct. 23 indicted each man on one count of conspiracy, 12 counts of mail fraud and 25 counts of wire fraud.
They kept the scam alive from February 2007 through February 2011 by issuing an occasional refund to throw police and state regulators off the scent, the indictment says.
“These refunds, although extremely rare, provided defendants Cole and Buchanan time to move to a new location/jurisdiction; establish new bank accounts; change the company name and address; and continue the scheme to defraud,” the indictment says.
They started as New Image Consultants Inc. of Larimer in 2007, switched to Fresh Start Opportunities of Seattle in 2008 and then Destiny Sales Inc. of Dallas in 2009, the lawsuit says.
As they developed their scam, the men instructed their sellers to tell victims that they were single mothers or convicted criminals who were selling the subscriptions to develop business skills to make a “fresh start” in life, the indictment says.
Law enforcement arrested the men on Nov. 11 and they’re currently in custody, according to court records.
This article was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.