An Arizona man was sentenced today to 14 years in prison for his role in a conspiracy that defrauded elderly victims, including several Virginia residents, out of over $640,000.

“Oliver preyed upon approximately 350 individuals, including a 94-year-old resident of Alexandria and an 84-year-old resident of Painter who suffered from Alzheimer’s,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Not content to simply deceive his victims, Oliver would badger and threaten his victims to extort even more money from them. This conduct is depraved in its own way and hopefully there will be some relief to the victims and their loved ones knowing that Oliver won’t be in a position to harm anyone else.”

According to court documents, Raheem Oliver, 38, operated a magazine subscription renewal fraud scam that began when he or one of his associates contacted magazine subscribers and offered to renew their subscriptions over the phone. When a subscriber agreed, Oliver would double or triple-bill their accounts, without ever actually renewing their subscriptions as promised. Throughout this process, Oliver also identified victims who were particularly vulnerable to such a scam, primarily including elderly individuals. Oliver targeted those vulnerable victims with threatening phone calls, falsely representing that the victims needed to pay thousands of dollars at a time for purported renewal fees, past-due balances, fines, attorneys’ fees and other legal fees, and court costs. He threatened victims with legal action, often including arrest, if they did not make the payments as requested, and thereby convinced victims to mail checks and wire money to him and his associates in Arizona.

“Protecting the elderly from criminal fraud schemes is a priority for the Postal Inspection Service,” said Eric Shen, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “While today’s sentence should serve as a strong deterrent for those seeking to threaten and steal from these vulnerable individuals, Postal Inspectors will continue to pursue those who misuse the mail to prey on their victims.”

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners coordinated the largest sweep of elder fraud cases in history. The cases involved more than 250 defendants from around the globe who victimized more than a 1 million Americans, most of whom were elderly. The cases include criminal, civil, and forfeiture actions across more than 50 federal districts.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Eric Shen, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Michael L. Brown, Alexandria Chief of Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton. Assistant U.S. Attorney Samantha Bateman prosecuted the case.