Owner of Minnesota, California fraudulent magazine sales companies pleads guilty

Owner of Minnesota, California fraudulent magazine sales companies pleads guilty Photo: Photo: U.S. Attorney's Office.

Josh Skluzacek
Updated: October 30, 2020 04:33 PM
Created: October 30, 2020 04:18 PM

A Long Lake man who owned and operated several fraudulent magazine companies in Minnesota and California entered a guilty plea on Friday in federal court.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, 51-year-old Brian James Williams pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Court documents state Williams was involved in several fraudulent magazine sales companies, including Readers Club Home Office, Pacific Renewal Service and Tropical Readers in St. Paul, as well as Pacific Beach Readers Club in San Diego, Calif. The attorney's office said Williams' companies operated telemarketing call centers in St. Paul and San Diego at which telemarketers used deceptive sales scripts designed to defraud consumers, many of whom were elderly or vulnerable.

The companies would trick customers into signing up for expensive magazine subscription packages, according to the attorney's office. Williams conspired with and participated in the scheme with many others, helping to defraud thousands of victims out of more than $29 million.

According to his guilty plea, Williams agreed to pay $29,262,249 in restitution to victims of the conspiracy.

He faces a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

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