Attorney General Mike DeWine and Miami County Prosecutor Anthony E. Kendell announced today that Roger VanDoren III, the last of an 18-person telemarketing fraud enterprise, was sentenced to four years in prison by Miami County Common Pleas Judge Robert Lindeman.
All the defendants pleaded guilty to felony charges arising out of an Ohio-based scam that stole millions of dollars from thousands of victims in 41 states.“We won’t tolerate scammers who steal from vulnerable citizens,” DeWine said. “What they did was unconscionable, and now they are paying for the crimes they committed against people in Ohio and across the country.”
“Today’s sentence is the final step in taking down a massive criminal enterprise,” Kendell said. “I appreciate Attorney General DeWine’s commitment to bringing scammers to justice and look forward to continuing to work with his office.”
The scam targeted victims, predominantly elderly, who owned inexpensive vacant land around the country. The telemarketing enterprise called these victims and fed them a series of lies about how their property values had increased dramatically and eager buyers had agreed to purchase the land. Victims then were duped into paying fees as high as $16,000 to complete a non-existent sale.
The scam started in Ohio in 2007 and operated in several locations including Troy, Vandalia, and Huber Heights; later, the scam expanded to additional offices in the Tampa, Florida, area. By 2011, the enterprise had stolen more than $2.8 million dollars. In October 2011, the Attorney General’s office raided several offices used by the enterprise in both Ohio and Florida, seizing records, computers, and cell phones.
The Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Unit, within the office’s Consumer Protection Section, discovered the scheme and worked with BCI, the Miami County Prosecutor’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and many other agencies in Miami County, Clark County, Huber Heights, and Florida.
Below is a list of the punishments given to all of the defendants in the scam, with name, plea date/charges and sentences provided:
3-1-13; F1 (Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activities)
Roger VanDoren III
6-14-13; F1 (Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activities)
7-24-2012; F2 (Conspiracy)
12-10-12; F2 (Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activities)
8-27-2012; F2 (Engaging in a Pattern of Corrupt Activities)
11-13-12; F3, F4 (Conspiracy, Grand Theft)
1-22-13; F4, F5 (Grand Theft and Telemarketing Fraud)
5-25-13; F3, F5 (Theft, Telemarketing Fraud)
Robert “Ben” Salafia
12-10-12; F3 (Conspiracy)
12-11-12; F4, F5 (Telecommunications Fraud, Telemarketing Fraud)
11-13-12; F3 (Conspiracy)
5-20-13; F3 (Telecommunications Fraud)
12-11-12; F3, F4 (Conspiracy, Telecommunications Fraud)
6 months in a drug treatment facility
2-11-13; F4 (Telecommunications Fraud)
2-1-13; F3, F5 (Complicity to Telecommunications Fraud and Complicity to Telemarketing Fraud)
1-10-13; F3, F4 (Complicity to Telecommunications Fraud and Complicity to Grand Theft)
12-10-12; F3, F4 (Conspiracy, Telecommunications Fraud)
12-10-12; F3 (Conspiracy)