A yearslong federal fraud probe into a fake magazine subscription service yielded new charges this week and allegations outlining a multistate scheme that bilked thousands of victims out of at least $100 million.
Michael Oelrich, a Florida man accused of running multiple companies linked to fraudulent magazine sales, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud this week in federal court in Minnesota.
Oelrich was charged via a felony information, a mechanism that typically signals that a guilty plea will follow. Oelrich's case was also 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.
Court documents filed this week describe a scheme whose scope is far broader than previously outlined. Oelrich's charging document describes him as working for a Kansas City businessman identified only as Individual R.
The businessman collected more than $100 million from victims of the fraud conspiracy, according to court documents, and transferred more than $30 million back to companies operated by Oelrich from 2012 to 2019.
According to charges, Oelrich deployed employees at telemarketing call centers in Florida to dupe elderly "or otherwise vulnerable" victims into making large or repeat payments to his companies. Oelrich relied on "lead lists" provided by Individual R that listed customers with active subscriptions through other companies.
Oelrich fed employees scripts to follow and told them to use "lies and misrepresentations" to sign victims up for expensive magazine subscriptions, the charges say. In many cases, the victims did not know what they were signing up for or believed that Oelrich's employees were calling on behalf of the victim's existing magazine subscription service.
An attorney for Oehlrich was not immediately available for comment.
A LinkedIn page for Oelrich describes him as being based out of Fort Myers, Fla., and in charge of "several diverse businesses in the real estate investment, music promotion, and adult-recovery sectors."