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Detectives Press Probe of Magazine-Sales Scam

Posted August 14, 2007
Updated August 15, 2007

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— All but one of the people arrested in a suspected magazine-sales scheme were out of jail Tuesday night, but the case against the seven appeared to be growing.

Only Christopher McKim, 21, whose address police had not been able to learn, remained behind bars in the Wake County Jail. The other six were bonded out by a man who told the bondsman he was a manager of the company for which the seven said they worked.

Durham and Morrisville police started getting calls from residents in their towns following publicity about Raleigh police arresting the group Friday on charges they were selling phony magazine subscriptions.

“The stories I heard were (that) they pretended to be with the North Carolina State baseball team or club, and they were trying to raise money for a trip,” Morrisville Detective Sgt. Mike Ballard said Tuesday. “And they said they’d be kind enough to donate half the proceeds to the Ronald McDonald House or the St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.”

The story was bogus, investigators said. Ballard said he had received six or seven calls from people who saw coverage of the story on the news and reported similar experiences.

Monday, Morrisville police filed additional charges against Thomas Fuller, 22, of Phoenix, and McKim.

The group claimed to sell magazine subscriptions for Quality Subscriptions, Inc., in Buford, Ga., but local investigators said they do not think any of the sales were legitimate.

The bondsman who did the paperwork for the release of the six said the person who hired him brought pay stubs to verify their employment.

The details in this door-to-door sales operation are similar to a common scheme.

“It’s a very old ploy to use kids and send them out on the streets,” said Beverly Baskin of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina.

“Frequently, these kids are jammed together and forced to live in a van or an inexpensive hotel with eight to 10 people per room,” Baskin added.

The state Attorney General's Office also has had trouble with magazine sellers.

In May, the office banned Charlotte-based Trinity Public Relations from doing business in North Carolina after dozens of consumer complaints. In this case, investigators want to know if this is bigger than the seven suspects.

The people listed for Quality Subscriptions, Inc. are tied to at least four other business names, according to records in the Georgia secretary of state’s office and telephone directory information. Cross-checking the adddress for Quality Subscriptions shows there is a company called United Family Circulation Inc. with the same officers as Quality Subscrptions and the same office address.

Calls to the company were not returned Tuesday, however.

17 Comments

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  • ilene3 Aug 15, 2007

    I do not know if any of you read my comments to yesterday's story, but more of my memories are surfacing. They promised travel and contests with vacation trips for most sales. And it was the Companies representives who drilled us every night on how to sell, what to say. We practiced on each other. And yes we were packed several people to a room, mixed sexes. I remember some coupling up- you know what I mean. I started getting close to one guy, but our "keeper" didn't approve and after several warnings, one morning he was gone. I do not know what happened to him.

  • Wonderer Aug 15, 2007

    Would these individuals constitute a gang?

  • special k Aug 15, 2007

    this is prolly one of those door to door things where you find a sales pitch that works and use it and everyone wants to help local college kids - you can bet the farm that the company hiring these kids will have material that the kids signed saying not to misrepresent their product - they normally sign that stuff and then someone whose sold for a while will say this always works.....

  • colliedave Aug 15, 2007

    A few weeks ago a door-to-door salesman came to my door and ran the doorbell. My oldest collie came to the door and let out a Cujo-type growl. With that, they guy ran away. I guess Puck knew the guy was up to no good.

  • nisa-pizza Aug 15, 2007

    houdie1031
    I know it may be boring to some people but if this happened to your elderly relative on a fixed income (which I'm sure it has but they're too ashamed to come forward) then I'd think you'd be more concerned. It doesn't have to be the "well-off" people that get taken advantage of from these scam artist. They especially target the elderly. Most scam artist do.

  • shine Aug 15, 2007

    How many days are they going to run this article?

  • jasonicholas Aug 15, 2007

    So why wasn't the guy who bonded them out - their boss per this artcle - arrested since he was the "brains" behind the operation? Am I an wrong for thinking that?
    How about instead of calling numbers and looking at records for the company, get off your a--es and go there, or at least have someone in Georgia check it out in person. Too logical?

  • LambeauSouth Aug 15, 2007

    The link above for the Georgia State listing has two other companies listed? Tuscon Publishing and Periodic sales or something. How can a Goverment agency have three seperate business listings? I know why , but why wouldnt someone ask questions?

  • WardofTheState Aug 15, 2007

    Now these companies can return to their fall-back positions = high-pressure condo salespeople!

    "Please, I've been in here three hours...let me go!"

  • icy148 Aug 15, 2007

    Darn, and I was looking for a new career too! Oh well, maybe I can revive the Pet Rock craze..., hmmm....

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