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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Five Defendants Plead Guilty In $300 Million Nationwide Telemarketing Fraud Scheme

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the guilty pleas of five additional defendants for their roles in a $300 million telemarketing fraud scheme that targeted elderly and other vulnerable victims. STACEY LEIGH PERSONS, 34, PATRECIA NICHOLE SHINN, 33, LEEANN GARCIA, 26, PETRA JINETTE LABOY, 42, and ANGEL WILSON, 49, were indicted on October 27, 2020, and pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in U.S. District Court earlier today.

STACEY LEIGH PERSONS pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud before Senior Judge David S. Doty in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. According to her guilty plea and documents filed with the court, from January 2010 through February 2020, PERSONS owned and operated General Subscription Services (“GSS”) and Amerimag Services LLC (“Amerimag”), two Minnesota-based companies involved in fraudulent magazine sales. PERSONS and her companies ran a telemarketing call center in Fridley, Minnesota.  As part of the scheme, PERSONS obtained lists of consumers who had active magazine subscriptions through other companies. PERSONS and her co-conspirators knew that many of the consumers on these lists were elderly or otherwise susceptible to fraudulent and deceptive sales tactics. At PERSONS’ direction, her sales employees called the people on these lists and, through lies and misrepresentations, signed them up for expensive magazine subscriptions or falsely claimed to renew victim-consumer’s existing magazine subscription at a reduced cost. In reality, GSS and Amerimag often had no existing relationship with the victim-consumers and the telemarketers were not calling about an existing magazine subscription. Instead, the telemarketers were calling to defraud the victim-consumers by tricking them into unwittingly signing up for entirely new magazine subscriptions. PERSONS, GSS, and Amerimag defrauded thousands of victims and amassed approximately $6,894,439 from victims as a result of this fraudulent scheme. As part of her guilty plea, PERSONS agreed to pay $6,894,439.00 in restitution to all identified victims in this and related cases.

PATRECIA NICHOLE SHINN and LEEANN GARCIA pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit mail fraud before Senior Judge Paul A. Magnuson in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minnesota. SHINN and GARCIA worked as telemarketers for GSS and Amerimag. At PERSONS’ direction, SHINN and GARCIA made calls to victim-consumers using fraudulent scripts. SHINN and GARCIA knew that many of the consumers on these lists were elderly or otherwise susceptible to fraudulent and deceptive sales tactics. SHINN and GARCIA, using a series of knowing and deliberate lies and misrepresentations, signed the victim-consumers up for expensive magazine subscriptions or falsely claimed to be calling with an offer to renew the victim-consumer’s existing magazine subscription, often at a reduced cost. As part of their guilty pleas, SHINN and GARCIA agreed to pay $50,000 and $15,000, respectively, in restitution to all identified victims in this and related cases.

PETRA JINETTE LABOY pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud before Senior Judge David S. Doty in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. According to LABOY’s guilty plea and documents filed with the court, from January 2011 to February 2020, LABOY worked as a sales manager and telemarketer for several fraudulent magazine companies in south Florida, including MO Management LLC, Preferred Media Source Inc., Preferred Media Solutions, American Readers Service, Atlantic Media Source, North American Direct Service, Inc., and North America’s Readers Choice (the “fraudulent companies”). These fraudulent companies were owned by MICHAEL OELRICH, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud on July 2, 2020, and were operated on behalf of co-defendant RUSSELL RAHM. In her role, LABOY worked out of an office in Cape Coral, Florida, and used fraudulent sales scripts to defraud elderly victim-consumers out of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. LABOY was eventually promoted to sales manager. As a sales manager, LABOY would oversee and train other telemarketers to commit the fraud, using the fraudulent scripts. The companies fraudulently obtained more than $72 million from victims over the period in which LABOY worked for the companies. As part of her guilty plea, LABOY agreed to pay $50,000 in restitution to all identified victims in this and related cases.

ANGEL WILSON pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud before Senior Judge David S. Doty in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From 2007 through 2010 and 2017 and 2020, WILSON worked as a telemarketer for Online Reading Club Inc., a Mississippi company that also conducted business under the names Readers Pros and Online Reading Pros. (collectively, “Readers Pros”). The companies were owned by co-defendant DANIEL MATHIAS. The companies ran a telemarketing call center in Oxford, Mississippi. Readers Pros employed a similar fraud scheme that also targeted victim-consumers who were elderly or otherwise vulnerable. Using scripts provided by MATHIAS, WILSON called the vulnerable victim-consumers on the lists and, through a series of knowing and deliberate lies and misrepresentations, defrauded them. WILSON falsely claimed that the victim-consumers owed a large outstanding balance for existing magazine subscriptions and fraudulently offered to pay off that balance in exchange for a one-time payment of $507. In reality, the victim-consumers did not have any existing subscriptions with Readers Pros, did not owe Readers Pros any outstanding balance, and Readers Pros did not have the ability to cancel the victim-consumers ongoing magazine subscriptions. Readers Pros fraudulently obtained more than $1.6 million from victim-consumers during the period in which WILSON worked for the company. As part of her guilty plea, WILSON agreed to pay $15,000 in restitution to all identified victims in this and related cases.

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.

Defendant Information:

STACEY LEIGH PERSONS, 34

Andover, Minn.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit mail fraud, 1 count

 

PATRECIA NICHOLE SHINN, 33

Cambridge, Minn.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit mail fraud, 1 count

 

LEEANN GARCIA, 26

Cambridge, Minn.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit mail fraud, 1 count

 

PETRA JINETTE LABOY, 42

Cape Coral, Fl.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit mail fraud, 1 count

 

ANGEL WILSON, 42

Oxford, Miss.

Convicted:

  • Conspiracy to commit mail fraud, 1 count

 

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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

 

Topic(s): 
Elder Justice
Component(s): 
Updated November 24, 2020