That Magazine Peddler at Your Door Was Part of a $2 Million Scam by a Dallas Company

Categories: Crime

PrivatePropertySignFlickr.jpg
Flickr user Gareth.D.Jones
Might be a wise investment.
It's such a familiar scenario, you suspect there's some sort of script. Some fresh-faced young man, or else an adult whose face is a bit too weathered for their years, knocks on the door. They're a troubled youth in a crime-ridden urban area, a single parent trying to make ends meet, just a guy trying to get his life back on track, and will be able to do so if you, with your middle-class home in your middle-class neighborhood, paid for by your middle-class job, will simply buy a magazine subscription.

In fact, you pretty much know there's a script. You just wonder who wrote it. The federal government now has an answer: 32-year-old Larhon Buchanan.

Buchanan appeared in a Pennsylvania courtroom on Tuesday and pleaded guilty to co-running a Dallas-based company, Destiny Sales, Inc., as well as a handful of other firms that were part of a $2 million magazine-subscription-sales scam.

The scheme worked about like you'd expect: Buchanan and her alleged partner, 44-year-old Samuel Cole, would recruit a group of young men and women in western Pennsylvania and send them through neighborhoods with false credentials from the National Field Selling Association and Better Business Bureau. The salespeople would tell customers that a sizable portion of proceeds from their subscriptions -- which, according to posts on Ripoff Report, were quite steep -- would go to well-respected nonprofits, including military charities, children's hospitals, and youth organizations.

The magazines never showed up, but by the time the customer realized this (their receipt clearly told them to "allow 90-120 days for delivery"), Buchanan and her band of salespeople were long gone, having established a new LLC and moved to a new city. First, their operation was based in Pennsylvania, where she and Cole are from. Then, they moved it to Seattle, then Dallas.

It was a good living, at least while it lasted. By the time the law caught up with Buchanan in November 2012, the operation had claimed as many as 21,000 victims and raked in around $2 million.

Just something to keep in mind the next time guilt makes you reach for your checkbook to buy something from the kid at your front door.


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43 comments
mcdallas
mcdallas

I bought a vacuum from a door-to-door salesman one time.  It sucks.

russp
russp

At one time there were a number of these magazine scam companies operating in the area, Lone Star, RLA & CRS are some of the names I remember. They were all based out of Aubrey, TX and cleared their checks out of the same bank in Texoma. My guess is all the same people operating different fronts. 

markzero
markzero

Everyone should check into their local ordinances about putting up "no soliciting" signs. In some areas people face misdemeanors if you have a sign and they knock anyway.

James080
James080

Next time someone rings the bell, before they start their pitch, shake their hand and say, "You've already had the measles, right?"

Chef_Tell
Chef_Tell

Had a nice but persistent young woman knock on my door to sell me U-verse. I pointed to the 'No Soliciting' sign above the doorbell and asked if she saw it. She replied "I'm not soliciting!".

ryan762
ryan762

Now if I could get the guy trying to sell me steaks to stop coming by, I'd be set.

Kelly Tomlinson
Kelly Tomlinson

What about the kids selling candy bars out of a bus tub? They're legit, right?

ruddski
ruddski

Black kid who smelled bad showed up at my door: "bet you're surprised to see a black guy like me here!" I replied "not at all", and showed him the pistol I was holding.

Melissa Howell
Melissa Howell

Reminds me of the scene from Office Space with Orlando Jones as one of those magazine salesman. Can't believe people fall for that crap.

Shonda Neal
Shonda Neal

I think I remember them coming to my house a couple of times and one time I told the girl I was too busy too talk to her and she said she would wait outside and I told her no and she still waited around a while. I knew something wasn't right. They were pushy but I didn't fall for it.

Jon Pitt
Jon Pitt

I did this once because they wouldn't stop knocking on my door all day long... Then I canceled the check.

Bobbi Belmarez
Bobbi Belmarez

Just ask for a solicitor permit. They usually just walk away because they don't have one

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

The worst thing about this, is they get people out of prison etc etc who are down on their luck and sucker them into it...its not the only reason these folks go back to prison, but it cant help

jace
jace

By all means steer clear of those magazine types, but if someone from the Southwestern Company

http://www.southwestern.com/

knocks on your door this summer, you may be talking to the next celebrity entrepreneur or future political leader

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southwestern_Company

A whole lot of jobs-creating small business people all over the country right now got their hard knocks education by first getting run off by you.

Tim Newman
Tim Newman

I used to work at Intertrode....

jahbrooks
jahbrooks

I knew about this in 1992. Where have you been Eric?

Americano
Americano

Wow Eric, you've uncovered quite a gem here.  I've only known this since the early 80"s.

Patricia Rollins
Patricia Rollins

Yeah, I was scammed twice. The kids are pretty good at what they do. Now I will never learn to cook Italian or get "In Shape"!

Derek Garrison
Derek Garrison

They're not athletes from the local high school?

dallas_dude
dallas_dude

Some fresh face girl was trying to sell me magazine subscriptions this past saturday.  I found it odd.  No website, no organization, just raising money for a trip to Italy b/c she'd been "chosen" by her school.  She also said at least 3 times that if anyone else came by with the same offer not to buy from him.  

But that wasn't the most suspicious part.

I knew something was up because she was trying to sell M-A-G-A-Z-I-N-E-S.

IT'S 2013!!! WHO THE FUCK WOULD SUBSCRIBE TO A MAGAZINE?  GET A KINDLE.

What's next? Going to try to sell me on long distance calling plan or perhaps mail order music CDs?

Wake the fuck up people.

laurendrewesdaniels
laurendrewesdaniels

@ryan762 Do they always use the line -- "your neighbor up the road wasn't home, so I'm trying to get rid of them now." Happens all the time around here. 

weirdozmedia
weirdozmedia

@jace In this day and age I think all door-to-door selling should discontinue.  There's too much crime involved in expecting homeowners to frequently open their door for strangers - burglars posing as salesman and scoping out your home for potential valuables, occasionally a rapist or murderer doing the same.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@jace Much overdue for your org to change its business model. It's conceptually valid to teach youngsters people skills and sales techniques by sending them door to door. However, the 2013 reality is one of great personal danger as well as immediate rejection because of cases like this news story. And to add insult to possible injury, now you're trying to guilt-trip the public by posting this crap? Shame on you.

wcvemail
wcvemail

@Americano You're unclear on the concept.  Eric hasn't "uncovered" anything, rather, he's passing along a story of a conviction because of its Dallas area ties. So if you knew that this person would eventually be convicted, in the early 80s when she was either un- or newly born, you should be in Las Vegas applying your mighty mental skills.

dallas_dude
dallas_dude

LOL, exactly.

BTW, That movie is 14 years old. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@dallas_dude Yeah dude, D Magazine on kindle just wouldnt be the same, I need those glossy pages touching my fingers as I browse Dallas Best Doctors

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

@dallas_dude  

Umm ... audio cassette and Betamax supplies perhaps ...


I open the door, see them and say "No thank you" before they can even open their mouths.  They start to talk, I listen politely and when they are down, I say "I said "No thank you" '.  If they persist I tell them that they have an option.  It never gets that far.

jace
jace

@wcvemail Not my org. I can see how this might not be your thing, though.

Americano
Americano

@wcvemail Show me where to place that bet genius.  Knowing something sounds shady is not the same as picking the Kentucky Derby winner.  Now hurry home and make Eric's dinner, bitch.

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

OMFG, wait.

You are Myrna.  Cat avatar? 

I knew it.

leftocenter
leftocenter

@Americano @wcvemail It's like listening to Walt and Jessie...yo

play nice boys

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Montemalone well everyone else changed to cat Avatars, so I did too lol.  waiting patiently for her response

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