SALT LAKE CITY – A federal indictment unsealed Friday charges Daron Howell Fordham, age 49, of Las Vegas with six counts of mail fraud in connection with what the indictment alleges was a direct mail fraud scheme that defrauded hundreds of investors across the country, including many elderly and disabled individuals.
According to the indictment, Fordham, aka Southboy, Daron Destiny, Paul Park, James Parker, Daron Howell and Darren Fordham, set up a mailbox at a UPS Store in Park City using the name Park Publishers and Distributors. He paid a printing service in California to send out hundreds of mailers soliciting people to invest in his direct mail program which had several variations. The mailers offered an opportunity to make money through a “direct partner program” called “Paul Park’s Profit Program,” listing a Park City address as the company address for responses.
The indictment alleges Fordham’s mailer induced individual investors to send money to the address with fraudulent claims and guarantees, including telling individuals they could make a 976 percent return (or more) in less than 90 days without doing any work. “All you have to do is invest in the printing and mailing of our hot-selling FREE CRUISE FOR TWO VOUCHERS (like the one included with this letter) that are used by businesses all across the country. WE DO ALL THE WORK! You decide how many Mailing Spots you want now and you’ll receive your Principal Check sand PROFIT Check in less than 90 days. Trust me. You’ll be upset if you miss this one.”
He told investors, the indictment alleges, they could invest $500 and get a “whopping gross return of $5,570 with $5,070 of it being PURE PROFIT FOR You.”
The indictment further alleges that between January and November 2014, Fordham negotiated or caused to be negotiated at least $1,596,642.14 in checks and money orders related to eight fraudulent promotional schemes, including at least $203,866.25 through the Park Publishers fraudulent promotional mailer scheme.
When investors requested refunds or on the date of the promised dividend payment, Fordham provided customers a previously unmentioned gift card voucher equal to the investment, which could only be used toward an additional business venture by Park Publishers or its affiliate partners. He also provided a full credit refund certificate, which investors could not redeem for any monetary value, good or service. Eventually, Fordham closed the Park City mailbox so that victims’ letters requesting a refund or inquiring about their promised return on their investment were returned as undeliverable. An 800-number was also disconnected, leaving victims unable to contact Fordham, the indictment alleges.
Fordham is charged with six counts of mail fraud in the indictment. He was arrested in Las Vegas where he had an initial appearance on the charges and was released on conditions. Fordham was arraigned on the charges Tuesday morning in federal court in Salt Lake City. Chief Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner presided at the hearing. He entered a plea of not guilty to the six counts in the indictment. Trial was set for Jan. 28, 2019.
Federal prosecutors are seeking detention in the case and are asking U.S. District Judge Dee Benson to review the Nevada magistrate’s decision to release Fordham. Judge Benson will hear the appeal Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Each count of mail fraud carries a potential 20-year sentence.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. Individuals charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.