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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | ORANGE COUNTY BRIEFLY

Telemarketer Convicted of Fraud

March 10, 2001|E. Scott Reckard

An Irvine woman convicted of a magazine telemarketing fraud that targeted the elderly has been ordered into federal custody pending sentencing, prosecutors said Friday.

A federal court jury in Santa Ana on Wednesday convicted Martha Marie Manion, 52, of three mail fraud and three wire fraud charges, Asst. U.S. Atty. Edward R. McGah Jr. said.

Four others associated with the sham magazine business, known as Best Publishers and later Pacific West Concepts, have already pleaded guilty to roles in the scam, McGah said.

Operating from Santa Fe Springs and Cerritos in 1996 and 1997, telemarketers induced nearly 700 people to pay more than $400,000 to receive prizes and awards. Prosecutors said most victims received nothing, while others received $20 worth of silver or subscriptions worth far less than what the victims sent in.

Manion was described as the operation's top "closer" for persuading several victims to send money repeatedly, including a 90-year-old woman who was clipped four times for a total of $3,800.

U.S. District Judge Gary L. Taylor scheduled Manion's sentencing for June 11.

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