Man pleads guilty in massive telemarketing fraud scheme

Authorities say a man has pleaded guilty in connection to a nationwide telemarketing scheme that defrauded thousands of people across the country out of millions of dollars.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota says 52-year-old Russell Jason Rahm, from Kansas City, pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in the fraudulent magazine subscription sales scheme.

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According to prosecutors, from 2000 through February 2020, Rahm owned and operated several Kansas-based companies involved in the scheme, using fraudulent sales scripts to defraud consumers — many of whom were elderly — out of money.

The goal of the scheme was to use a series of lies and misrepresentations to get the victims to make large or repeat payments for magazine subscriptions.

The attorney’s office says Rahm’s companies defrauded thousands of victims out of around $103 million, in total.

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Altogether, 60 people were charged in connection to the scheme, which targeted more than 150,000 vulnerable victims and collected $300 million. Several others have also pleaded guilty to their roles.

Rahm’s sentencing hearing hasn’t yet been scheduled.