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Father and Son Draw 15 Years in Mail Fraud

January 22, 1986|JANE APPLEGATE | Times Staff Writer

A father-son team who operated a Westwood mail-order business described by authorities as "a sophisticated criminal conspiracy" were both sentenced Tuesday to 15 years in prison for mail fraud by a Los Angeles federal court judge.

U.S. District Judge James M. Ideman said C. Scott Flewitt, 55, and his son, B. Todd Flewitt, 29, both of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, "never had any intention, from the beginning, of conducting any legitimate business." Another son, Miles, was acquitted by the same federal court jury that found his father and brother guilty of mail fraud late last year.

Beginning in March, 1983, under the name Concept Marketing International, the Flewitts contacted hundreds of people across the country offering to sell them "Success Kits," containing money-making ideas. But the company had no products and no catalogues, and customers rarely, if ever, received anything for their money, according to a federal grand jury indictment returned against the Flewitts last February.

The kits cost about $250 each, but several investors testified during the trial that they sent the Flewitts thousands of dollars.

Ideman said the company netted about $600,000 from customers "suckered in by their scheme." He said the money has apparently disappeared.

The judge said he imposed the stiff penalties because he wanted people to know that the court "takes crime such as this seriously."

'Serious Flight Risk'

The senior Flewitt was described as the "chairman of the board of this crooked organization" by Ideman. Todd Flewitt served as president of the company, according to the indictment.

Saying the pair are "completely unremorseful" about their activities and pose a "serious flight risk," Ideman refused to grant their request for bail pending appeal.

Ideman, who ordered the two men to serve five years' probation after their release, said he wanted the father and son to be assigned to different prisons because they are a bad influence on each other. The judge also said he will ask probation officials to work out a way for the Flewitts to repay their customers.

Cory Dudley, a U.S. postal inspector, said the government began investigating the firm after an employee complained to authorities about its alleged illegal activities.

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