SALT LAKE CITY – An accused scammer pleads guilty in Utah to mail fraud, and investigators say he had over 16 hundred victims all over the country, all of them seniors. Federal prosecutors say he took in over $1.8 million over the course of just one year.
The United States Postal Service was tipped off about a questionable amount of mail going through a UPS mailbox in Park City. That’s where they first saw evidence of a massive, wide-spread scam.
“My inspector went up there and found out who opened the box,” according to Jared Bingham with the Postal Service.
The scam reportedly worked like this: Daron Fordham would send mailers out by the hundreds offering fake discounts on things like vitamins. The victims would send in a few hundreds of dollars at a time, which kept Fordham under the radar, mostly.
Bingham says Fordham spent most of the money he reportedly took.
“When this is your job and all you have to do is pay a printing company to print up your mailer and mail it out for you, you’re not doing a lot. You’re just collecting money,” he says.
Fordham was arrested in Las Vegas, and investigators say his operation was extremely well organized.
“He changes his name often. He changes his company’s name often. He changes his location often. His apartment, when he was busted on this in Las Vegas, we would call it a ‘fraud factory,’” according to U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber.
Fordham is looking at spending six years in federal prison. His sentencing will take place later this year.
Huber says this case shows how vulnerable seniors are to mail fraud.
“They read what we may consider junk mail. They’re more trusting and they have money,” he says.
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