The Danbury-based list brokerage firm Macromark Inc. has pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud that resulted in losses to duped victims of $9.5 million.
The company provided lists of millions of potential victims to fraudulent mass mailers whose products were designed to trick consumers into paying fees for nonexistent cash prize sweepstakes and alleged psychic services.
Macromark provided these lists between 2005 and 2016, and many of the individuals who were cheated out of money were either elderly or financially vulnerable.
According to the lawsuit, Macromark and its co-conspirators “were paid a commission for brokering the sale of lists of potential victims to fraudulent mass mailers.” In addition, Macromark also assisted these mass-mailer clients in earning income “from lists of victims the clients had already defrauded.” In turn, the company sold those lists to other fraudulent mass mailers.
Under the terms of Macromark’s guilty plea on Sept. 25, the company would be sentenced to three years of probation, forfeiture and fines totaling $1 million and be required to cooperate with any related government investigation or prosecution. A final sentence will be determined by the U.S. District Court in Connecticut.
Macromark’s plea follows a separate guilty plea in July 2018 by Steven Keats, a former executive vice president. Another former executive, Senior Vice President Norman Newman, was indicted in March by a Connecticut grand jury for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, along with 15 counts of wire fraud. He is scheduled to go on trial on March 1, 2021.
“List brokers and service providers such as Macromark who facilitate these schemes are especially dangerous,” said Inspector in Charge Delany DeLeon-Colon of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Criminal Investigations Group.
“Data firms such as this have extraordinary access to consumer’s personal information, not just their mailing address. The sale and distribution of this data exponentially magnifies the scale and impact of these schemes.”