Oct. 6, 2009
LAST TWO SENTENCED IN TELEMARKETING FRAUD SCHEME
(HOUSTON) - Allen Dean Lohrman, 47, and Jimmy Charles Frazier, 55, have been sentenced to prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud arising from a telemarketing scheme, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. United States District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal sentenced Lohrman to a total of 135 months incarceration on each of 32 counts of conviction, finding he was a manager, while Frazier received 37 months on each of seven counts of conviction at a hearing held this morning. The sentences are to be served concurrently. Both defendants were also ordered to serve a three-year-term of supervised release upon completion of their prison terms and ordered to pay restitution jointly in the amount of $21,613.17.
Lohrman and Frazier were convicted by a jury’s verdict in September 2008 after the United States presented evidence proving that Lohrman and Frazier, along with Elbert Lee Guillory II, 36, Monroe White, 51, Oscar Criner, 46, Africa Muttilib, 22, and Clarence Joseph Thompson, 37, conspired together as telemarketers to defraud small businesses throughout the nation in an advertising scheme. Operating out of an office located on the 1400 block of Campbell Road in Houston during 2006 and January 2007, Lohrman, Frazier and the other conspirators placed telephone calls to small businesses nationwide soliciting them to place an advertisement in a law enforcement publication. The businesses were selected because they had previously advertised in a legitimate law enforcement publication or donated to a law enforcement organization. The defendants used “pitch” sheets to solicit advertisers and a “back door pitch,” in which the solicitor would state the business had previously agreed to advertise in their publication and that the magazine had been printed, but the invoice was still unpaid knowing that such representation was false in its entirety. Not only had the business never agreed to place an ad, but the publication was non-existent. The defendants faxed fraudulent and back-dated invoice to the business as proof. Many of the victim businesses mailed a check to postal boxes under the defendants’ control on the off-chance that someone else at their business had placed an ad or agreed to support the defendants’ company with a donation. Records seized during a search of the business premises in January 2007 and statements of the defendants showed the defendants received approximately 25 to 40 checks per week in amounts ranging from $100 to $500.
United States Postal Inspection Service inspectors and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers became aware of the scheme after receiving complaints from a Cuero, Texas welding company. Following up on a fraudulent invoice that had been sent to welding company, agents located postal boxes leased in the name of “Trooper’s Quarterly” and “Narcotics Officer’s Journal.” Both had been leased by Lohrman. When Lohrman came to the box to pick up the mail, the agents followed him back to the office on Campbell Road. White, Guillory, Criner, Thompson, and Frazier were working in the office when the officers arrived and all were eventually indicted on charges of mail fraud and conspiracy. Muttilib, who is the son of Monroe White, was also indicted but was not present at the office on Jan. 17, 2007.
The jury convicted Lohrman of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 31 counts of mail fraud. Frazier was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and six counts of mail fraud.
Both Lohrman and Frazier have been in custody since their arrest in September 2007.
White, Guillory, Criner, Thompson and Muttilib all pleaded guilty in advance of trial. White and Guillory received 33 and 10 months, respectively, while Criner and Thompson were each sentenced to three years probation. Muttilib was sentenced to 18 months incarceration.
The matter was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James R. Buchanan.
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