SALT LAKE CITY — A Las Vegas man who bilked hundreds of investors, including many older and disabled people, out of $1.8 million through a direct mail fraud scam he ran out of mailbox in a Park City store is headed to prison.
Daron Howell Fordham, 50, was sentenced to six years behind bars after earlier pleading guilty to six counts of mail fraud. U.S. District Judge Dee Benson also ordered him to repay the money he stole.
The victims number 1,693 nationwide, including one who was 91.
“Crimes against the elderly target some of the most vulnerable people in our society. No one is immune from these schemes,” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said in a statement. “We are continuing our efforts to help older adults and senior citizens recognize the signs of financial fraud schemes."
Fordham — also known as Southboy, Daron Destiny, Paul Park, James Parker, Daron Howell and Darren Fordham — set up a mailbox at a UPS Store in Park City using the name Park Publishers and Distributors. He paid a printing service in California to send out hundreds of mailers soliciting people to invest in his direct mail program, which had several variations.
Fordham's mailer induced individual investors to send money to the address with fraudulent claims and guarantees, including telling people they could make a 976% return or more in less than 90 days without doing any work.
The mailer read: "All you have to do is invest in the printing and mailing of our hot-selling FREE CRUISE FOR TWO VOUCHERS (like the one included with this letter) that are used by businesses all across the country. WE DO ALL THE WORK! You decide how many Mailing Spots you want now and you'll receive your Principal Check and PROFIT Check in less than 90 days. Trust me. You'll be upset if you miss this one."
Fordham told investors they could invest $500 and get a "whopping gross return of $5,570 with $5,070 of it being PURE PROFIT FOR You."