Houston-area man arrested in $1.2 million telemarketing scheme targeting more than 100 people
HOUSTON - Officials have a Houston-area man behind bars for his role in a telemarketing scheme, where he received more than $1 million from more than 100 people.
RELATED: Texas man wins $100,000 suing robocallers, shares how you can too
The United States Attorney's Office - Southern District of Texas announced Michael Laurendeau was arrested Friday morning after an investigation with Pearland PD and the FBI. He was previously from Pearland, but officials say he was living in Houston when he was arrested and scheduled to make an appearance Friday afternoon before a Magistrate Judge.
Court documents say Laurendeau is the owner of E-Business Financial LLC and Blue Star Hosting LLC. Under this company, from January 2015 to August 2019, he and his "co-conspirators" reportedly tricked 134 victims by convincing them they were entitled to unclaimed money from prior investments in websites or webpage domains.
RELATED: Scammers spoof FBI Houston phone number to get money from victims, officials warn
Additionally, officials say Laurendeau and co-conspirators allegedly used aliases like Richard Phelps, Ian Sharpe, Kelly Fisher, and Mary Benson to victimize people from across the U.S., many of whom were over the age of 55. However, none of the people he targeted ever received money from these schemes.
The charges say he also convinced many of these victims to send in additional checks even after they did not get a return on their initial investments. In total, Laurendeau, and others received more than $1.2 million and court documents claim "the money was then spent on trips, dinners, a car, and other goods."
RELATED: FCC aims to block spam callers from leaving ‘ringless voicemails’ on your phone
Laurendeau was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 14 counts of mail fraud. If convicted, he will face up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine maximum on each count.