An Anaheim man was arrested Monday on a federal indictment charging him with 22 counts of fraud stemming from a so-called rip-and-tear telemarketing operation that allegedly took $65,000 from mostly elderly victims.
Dean Michael Drouin, 30, was held without bail pending a hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana. The charges, 11 counts of mail fraud and 11 counts of wire fraud, carry a maximum prison term of 110 years.
The FBI and Orange County sheriff's deputies arrested Drouin at his home in Anaheim.
The Friday indictment accused Drouin of defrauding more than 30 victims nationwide. The scheme ran for about nine months until the County of Orange Boiler Room Apprehension (COBRA) task force shut it down in July, said Sheriff's Sgt. Dennis DeMaio.
The task force has dubbed such operations rip-and-tears because the suspects move frequently and change names to avoid detection.
The indictment accuses Drouin of using numerous aliases and three company names--Pacific Advertising, Capital Enterprises and Stardust Co.--as he moved among offices in Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Sunset Beach.
Drouin called victims with promises to pay cash prizes of up to $60,000 or more if the victims sent money for administrative fees, taxes and legal fees, DeMaio said. Drouin collected $500 to $8,000 from each victim, but no prizes were sent, the sergeant said.
In arguing that Drouin should be held without bail, Assistant U.S. Atty. S. Robert Raskin Jr. indicated that Drouin had a prior history of drug, burglary and weapons convictions.
COBRA, formed a year ago by local, state and federal agencies, is the first major coordinated effort to shut down telemarketers who prey on the elderly.