An Arizona man made more than a half-million dollars scamming elderly magazine subscribers across the U.S., threatening to have them arrested if they did not pay huge fees and fines, the Washington Post reports. Raheem Oliver, 38, pleaded guilty on Monday in Alexandria, Va., to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. One person who fell prey to the scam was a 94-year-old Virginia resident identified as R.B. He was called by Oliver more than 100 times between May 2014 and October 2015 and sent at least three checks to addresses in Arizona. Until a fall 2016 raid on his swanky Phoenix rental home, Oliver stole from about 250 people and made at least $548,000.
Oliver or an associate would call victims and offer to renew their magazine subscriptions by phone. He would then bill their accounts two or three times without renewing the subscriptions. People who seemed vulnerable, particularly the elderly, were targeted for a secondary scam, Oliver admitted. He would tell people they needed to pay thousands of dollars in renewal fees, fines, attorney’s fees and court costs for purportedly overdue subscription balances. He warned victims falsely that if they failed to send the money they could face legal action, including arrest. “This guy is bad. He is a bad man,” said Mark Pyper, the owner of the home Oliver rented. When Pyper received one rent payment, it was from a man in Kentucky who sent him a personal check for $8,000. Pyper learned that the man was an 88-year-old farmer who thought he was paying half of what he owed for overdue magazine subscription fees to avoid being taken to court.