Magazine cancellation fraud scheme leads to guilty plea for co-owner

A fraudulent magazine scheme that targeted elderly and vulnerable people while generating more than $30 million from its victims has resulted in one of its co-conspirators pleading guilty.

Abdou Diallo, also known as Abdou-Rahmane Diallo, 36, of Montreal, Quebec, has pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud for his role in the fraud through Canadian-based company Readers Services.

According to court documents, Diallo was a co-owner and operator of Readers Services from 2011 through 2020. 

FOX 9 previously reported on the scheme resulting in indictments, and in the process detailing some of the victims who had connections to Minnesota.

As part of the scheme, Diallo and others targeted people who had previously been victimized by fraudulent magazine companies and were currently being billed by one or more fraudulent magazine companies on an ongoing basis. It’s alleged that they used victims’ vulnerability of previous billing to engage in fraud all over again, this time under the premise of canceling the first, unwanted subscription.

Diallo would pretend to be from the "magazine cancellation department" and offer to pay off victims’ "outstanding balance" and cancel their existing magazine subscriptions in exchange for a large, lump-sum payment, according to charges. However, victims did not actually owe Diallo any payments, and he had no power or ability to cancel the victims’ existing magazine subscriptions or any outstanding balances.

The "piggyback" scheme perpetrated by Diallo and other participants collected more than $30 million in fraudulent payments from more than 20,000 victims, court documents allege.