Hawley works to shut down mail scam targeting the elderly

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced on Thursday that his office and the Federal Trade Commission brought an action against Kevin Brandes, William Graham and ten of their companies. 

Hawley said Brandes and Graham ran a fraudulent direct mail operation based in Kansas City. The operation took in about $30 million per year, mostly from elderly victims. 

Brandes and Graham would send mailers that falsely represented consumers had won a substantial cash prize in exchange for paying a series of fees. Hawley said no one ever won a significant prize. 

The duo would communicate urgency and would present a false veneer of authenticity.

“Today, our office seeks to shut down one of the largest direct mail schemes in the country,” Hawley said. “The defendants targeted on elderly victims for years. My office will aggressively pursue deceitful and dishonest businesses that prey upon our senior citizens.”

The action was filed in conjunction with the Department of Justice as part of their enforcement sweep aimed at stopping illegal schemes that exploit elderly Americans. 

Hawley said legitimate companies will never ask for residents to pay fees to participate in receiving a prize. Residents are also asked to carefully read mail to make sure it is authentic. 

Missourians who believe they may have been the victim of a scam are encouraged to file a complaint by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222.  

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