Larimer couple indicted for scamming nearly $2M in fake magazine subscriptions
By Brian Bowling
Published: Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, 11:30 a.m.
Federal authorities arrested a Larimer couple who, according to an indictment unsealed Monday, scammed nearly $2 million from more than 21,000 people who thought they were buying magazine subscriptions to benefit children's hospitals, military support groups and other charities.
Samuel Cole, 43, and Larhon Buchanan, 31, engaged in an elaborate confidence game in which they hired groups of young men and women to sell fake subscriptions door to door across the country, the indictment said.
A federal grand jury on Oct. 23 indicted each on one count of conspiracy, 12 counts of mail fraud and 25 counts of wire fraud.
They kept the scam alive from February 2007 through February 2011 by issuing an occasional refund to throw police and state regulators off the scent, the indictment said.
“These refunds, although extremely rare, provided defendants Cole and Buchanan time to move to a new location/jurisdiction; establish new bank accounts; change the company name and address; and continue the scheme to defraud,” the indictment says.
They started as New Image Consultants Inc. of Larimer in 2007, switched to Fresh Start Opportunities of Seattle in 2008 and then Destiny Sales Inc. of Dallas in 2009, the indictment said.
As they developed their scam, the pair instructed their sellers to tell victims that they were single mothers or convicted criminals who were selling the subscriptions to develop business skills to make a “fresh start” in life, the indictment said.
Law enforcement arrested the pair Nov. 11, and the two are in custody, according to court records.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Samsung introduces free streaming radio service
- Penguins stave off Ducks’ shooting barrage to win in shootout
- Rand Paul urges conservatives to elect ‘lovers of liberty’
- Penguins notebook: Maatta leaves lasting impression with Selanne
- Trade to Penguins caps frenetic period for winger Stempniak
- Minorities crucial to filling Marcellus shale gas drilling jobs
- Alle-Kiski car dealers ready for thaw
- Clairton Seuss Cafe just what doctor ordered for love of reading
- Neighbors say bright, flashing sign interferes with sleep
- Steelers score with Springdale fundraiser
- Borough to revisit zoning