A Florida man pleaded guilty Thursday for his role in a massive telemarketing fraud scheme that duped Minnesota customers into paying for expensive fake magazine subscriptions.
Days after first being charged this week, Michael Oelrich pleaded guilty in federal court in Minneapolis to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in a case that spanned nearly a decade and involved the alleged direction of a still-unnamed ringleader based in Kansas City.
Court documents alleged that the leader of the scheme, identified only as “Individual R” in court filings and described as a Kansas City businessman, pocketed more than $100 million.
Oelrich on Thursday admitted that the man transferred more than $30 million back to companies that he operated from 2012 to 2019.
Using telemarketing call centers in Florida, Oelrich relied on “fraudulent sales scripts” to bilk victims out of “hundreds or even thousands of dollars” via large or repeat payments, according to court documents.
The consumers were made to believe that they were doing business with representatives from active magazine subscriptions through other companies.
“Oelrich conspired with and participated in this scheme with many others, including with company owners, lead brokers, and telemarketers located across the country, including in Florida and in Minnesota,” according to Oelrich’s plea agreement.
Oelrich’s case has since been identified as being related to that of Wayne R. Dahl Jr. of Fridley, who is scheduled to enter a plea July 20 on federal fraud charges filed in 2018.
Dahl operated a Chaska company called Your Magazine Service Inc. and was sued in 2016 by the state Attorney General’s Office.
Dahl is accused of defrauding more than 13,000 victims in Minnesota and elsewhere in the country.
A sentencing-guidelines calculation in Oelrich’s plea agreement places his sentence at between 21.66 and 27.25 years; however the statutory maximum is 20 years.
The agreement calls for $30.44 million in victim restitution and a monetary judgment forfeiture of $5 million. A sentencing date has not been scheduled.