Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Elderly in Magazine Scam
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An Arizona man pleaded guilty today to his role in a conspiracy that defrauded elderly victims, including several Virginia residents, out of nearly $500,000.
According to court documents, Raheem Oliver, 38, operated a magazine subscription renewal fraud scam that began when he or one of his associates contacted magazine subscribers and offered to renew their subscriptions over the phone. When a subscriber agreed, Oliver would double or triple-bill their accounts, without ever actually renewing their subscriptions as promised. Throughout this process, Oliver also identified victims who were particularly vulnerable to such a scam, primarily including elderly individuals. Oliver targeted those vulnerable victims with threatening phone calls, falsely representing that the victims needed to pay thousands of dollars at a time for purported renewal fees, past-due balances, fines, attorneys’ fees and other legal fees, and court costs. He threatened victims with legal action, often including arrest, if they did not make the payments as requested, and thereby convinced victims to mail checks and wire money to him and his associates in Arizona.
Oliver victimized approximately 250 individuals in total, including a 94-year-old resident of Alexandria and an 84-year-old resident of Painter who suffers from Alzheimer’s.
Oliver pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on June 22. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Robert B. Wemyss, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Michael L. Brown, Alexandria Chief of Police, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Samantha Bateman is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:18-cr-9.